Academy of Country Music Awards: Girls on Top

The 44th Academy of Country Music Awards, held in Las Vegas on Sunday, represented a major collective victory for the women of country music, with female nominees scoring a significant portion of the major categories.

American Idol alum Carrie Underwood was the night’s biggest winner, snapping up Entertainer of the Year honors, becoming only the seventh female to get that nod and ending Kenny Chesney’s four-year reign in that category. Underwood also scored Top Female Vocalist honors.

“I’ve had a lot of good moments in the past four years. This one takes the cake,” Underwood gushed during her acceptance speech for Entertainer of the Year, Reuters reports. “I never thought I’d be nominated, I never thought I would win. I don’t know what to say. I’ve got nothing.”

Also getting lots of ACM love last night: Nineteen-year-old singer Taylor Swift, who nabbed honors for Album of the Year for her runaway smash Fearless, and a special “Crystal Milestone” award for being the top-selling country artist for 2008.

Swift also sat down behind the piano to perform her single “You’re Not Sorry” during the ceremony.

“I don’t think I expected all this would ever happen to me,” Swift noted backstage after the awards. “I wake up every day just kind of looking around and saying, ‘Really?'”

Dancing With the Stars contestant Julianne Hough, whose self-titled debut was released last year, racked up the Top New Female Vocalist award.

Congratulations, y’all! Check out our big, big red carpet gallery from last night’s awards show, including lovebirds Jamie Kennedy and Jennifer Love Hewitt, and recently scandalized LeAnn Rimes, arriving sans hubby Dean Sheremet but rocking her wedding ring.