OFFSTAGE: Country Stars Accept American Music Awards With Pleasure

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

When the first acceptance speech of Sunday night’s (Nov. 18) American Music Awards started with Justin Bieber saying, “First of all, I wanna say, this is for all the haters,” I thought the show might go downhill from there. But leave it to the country winners — Taylor Swift, Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum and Carrie Underwood — to shine during their own speeches.

When Underwood’s name was announced for favorite country album for Blown Away, she hugged her husband Mike Fisher, had him hold her purse and then made her way to the stage. She admitted, “I couldn’t love my life any more than I do right now.” She also thanked the fans and radio for “giving us jobs” and added, “This means so much to me because I really am so very proud of this album.”

And when Bryan won his country male artist award, he immediately took his wife Caroline’s face in his hands and kissed her. Then he did it again. Then he thanked her first when he got up onstage. “I wanna thank my wife for letting me be a big kid out on the road every week playing shows,” he said. “I love you, baby.”

Swift won country female artist and kind of toned down her oft-imitated shock face. But she did say, “This is unreal” and “I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m really, really happy right now and that’s all because of you [fans].”

In winning the country band, duo or group award, Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum made their winner’s speech relevant to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday by saying, “We have so much to be thankful for this year, and it just feels really good.” Short, simple and so, so sweet.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.