Underwood tops ACMs with three; Chesney 3-peats


Las Vegas — Carrie Underwood continued to be one of the biggest stories in country music by winning three awards at the 42nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards held here Tuesday night.

Underwood took home top female honors, album of the year for "Some Hearts" and video of the year for "Before He Cheats." "It's absolutely amazing, I was so excited," the "American Idol" alum told reporters backstage. "It's a great night. I feel blessed.

Kenny Chesney won his third straight entertainer of the year award, putting him in the company of Alabama, Garth Brooks and Hank Williams Jr. "It feels good," Chesney laughed backstage. "All three of those artists were a big influence on me."

He opened the show with "Beer in Mexico," which recently spent three weeks at No. 1 on Billboard country chart.

Brooks & Dunn won their 14th top vocal duo award as well as the Home Depot Humanitarian Award. "Any country act can win that award any year," Kix Brooks said of act's reputation for giving.

The duo also won the vocal collaboration award for "Building Bridges," with Vince Gill and Sheryl Crow. They were honored both as singers and producers on the song.

Meanwhile, George Strait, who came into the show with eight nominations, picked up three awards: song and single of the year for "Give It Away" and a producing credit in the single category. The song, written by Bill Anderson, Buddy Cannon and Jamey Johnson, spent two weeks at No. 1 in the fall.

In a category that included Chesney, Toby Keith, Keith Urban and Strait, Brad Paisley was a surprise winner as top male vocalist. "I sing a song about two people who drink themselves to death, you buy it. I sing a song about nasty bugs, you buy it," he told his fans at the sold-out MGM Grand Garden Arena, referring to his singles "Whiskey Lullaby" and "Ticks," respectively.

Rascal Flatts, which was up for six awards, took home top vocal group honors. The band has sold 4 million copies of its 2006 "Me and My Gang" album.

Miranda Lambert, who recently debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 with her second album, "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," took home top new female honors.

Rodney Atkins, who has spent eight weeks atop the airplay chart with his past two singles, took home the top new male vocalist award.

Top new duo or group went to Little Big Town, which has sold 996,000 units of its album "The Road to Here," according to Nielsen SoundScan, and scored two top 10 singles last year.

The show aired on CBS.