There was no doubt about who the big winners were at the Academy of Country music Awards Sunday night - Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and Lady Antebellum.
Underwood won only one award - she was nominated for five - but the one award was the biggest one handed out in Las Vegas, entertainer of the year.
While it is, of course, extremely hard to determine why Underwood won, it should be noted that her only female competition was Taylor Swift, who did not win any award Sunday although she also was nominated for five. So, it could be that Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, George Strait and Keith Urban split up the male vote, while the also nominated Zac Brown Band doubtlessly was not going to win the competition.
Underwood is probably the second biggest female singer out there today behind Swift and a whole lot better singer. Both had good albums out with "Play On" and "Fearless" respectively.
For Underwood, it was a huge moment. While we certainly have been down on awards show over the years, there is no doubt that it sure tastes a lot better to win than lose. And chances are sales for Underwood will be on the uptick this week as a result. At some level, winning an award is a validation of an artist, and, for Underwood, this marked the second straight year she won the biggest honor of the night. No wonder her cell phone was ringing when she went up to get the big one.
As for Lady Antebellum, this continued what has been a great year, but it sure behooved them to win. After being hyped up and nominated for seven awards, it would not have been a good night go away empty handed. So the trio was left with song and single of the year for Need You Now along with Top Vocal Group. The group handled it well, and one gets the distinct sense that they are only on the upswing.
As for Lambert, the Texan won Top Female Vocalist, album of the year for "Revolution" and Video of the Year for White Liar. Lambert has done increasingly well, which is rarity these days - a career that builds. The typical method these days seems to be that you'd better have a hit single off the bat or forget about even releasing a CD. Maybe offering a few songs online is the norm.
Lambert has released strong albums, including "Revolution." It seemed like the evening finally caught up with Lambert when she received the female vocalist award over Taylor Swift, Reba McEntire, Lee Ann Womack and Underwood. While Womack's nomination was surprising, the others were not. Lambert recognized the competition immediately when she went on stage to claim her prize. By the way, did everyone notice how almost every award winner thanked Jesus? Kudos go to Lambert for having such a great evening over very stiff competition.
The awards did not stretch out to all that many artists on this night - all winners certainly benefited, but none moreso than Underwood, Lady Antebellum and Lambert.