Shelton takes CMA Awards entertainer of the year
Musical group Little Big Town, from left, Jimi Westbrook, Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman and Phillip Sweet, accept the award for single of the year for "Pontoon" at the 46th Annual Country Music Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Wayde Payne/Invision/AP)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — It was couples night at the Country Music Association Awards as Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert capped an emotional evening with Shelton's first entertainer of the year award.
"The Voice" star won a leading three awards, including his third straight male vocalist of the year award. Lambert won female vocalist of the year, and the couple shared song of the year for their heart-rending collaboration "Over You."
Lambert openly wept on stage in one of the more emotional CMA moments in recent memory as her husband recounted for the ABC television audience how his late father Dick spurred the couple to write the heart-rending song the loss of his brother Richie.
"My dad always told me, 'Son, you should write a song about your brother,'" Shelton said. "I lost my dad in January, and it's so amazing to me that tonight, even after he's gone, he's still right. I just needed the right person to write this song with and the right person to sing it."
Eric Church accepts the award for album of the year for "Chief" at the 46th Annual Country Music Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Wade Payne/Invision/AP)
Shelton's entertainer win was the biggest surprise of a night full of them. Even he couldn't believe he'd won the award in a field that included Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney and Brad Paisley.
"I didn't think about that tonight. I was thinking there's Taylor Swift right there," he said of the two-time entertainer of the year. "Really, this is pretty dumb that there's anyone else even nominated."
The reality, though, is Shelton capped one of the most impressive career reboots in country music history with the win. He hasn't sold as many records as Swift, whose "Red" just sold 1.2 million copies in its first week, or as many concert tickets as Chesney or Aldean. But his leading-man looks, wicked sense of humor, Twitter presence and slot on "The Voice" have made him one of country's top stars.