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Singer Bryan Pulls Off Upset at CMAs

Las Vegas — Everything went to script yesterday night at the Academy of Country Music Awards until the end — when Luke Bryan pulled off an amazing upset and won entertainer of the year.

Bryan beat out some of country music’s top stars, including two-time winner Taylor Swift and overall award leader Miranda Lambert, in an upset that few would have predicted.

The 36-year-old Georgia native recently began headlining his first arena tour and was the co-host of this year’s show.

After an emotional speech, co-host and fellow nominee Blake Shelton held Bryan up and joked that he won in his “first and last year as co-host” of the awards.

Shelton shared one award with Lambert, his wife, for Over You, the deeply personal song they co-wrote. With three other wins — including her fourth straight as female vocalist of the year — Lambert was the night’s most-honored star.

Over You, written by the couple about Shelton’s late brother, won song of the year at the Country Music Association Awards last November as well.

“As a songwriter, having your song and your lyrics recognized by your peers is pretty much as good as it gets,” Lambert said. “And I’m so thankful for being in this genre of country music, every single time someone’s nominated, I just cheer, because I love everybody to death. So thank you for accepting me as a song writer, not just as a singer, because that means the world to me.”

Eric Church won two awards, including album of the year, and was tied with Jason Aldean, Little Big Town and Florida Georgia Line.

Church, this year’s top nominee, also won vocal event of the year for his collaboration with Aldean and Luke Bryan for their collaboration on The Only Way I Know and performed his somber but powerful song Like Jesus Does with only an acoustic guitar and a backup singer.

“I can’t believe I just met John Fogerty,” Church said as he accepted the album award from the Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman and Lambert. “We should hang out later.”

Aldean, country’s top-selling male act, won male vocalist of the year. Little Big Town had wins for vocal group and video of the year. Florida Georgia Line won for new artist and were previous winners in the new vocal duo/group category.

Bryan is the first male winner of the entertainer of the year award since 2007 when Kenny Chesney won the first fan-voted award. Swift and Carrie Underwood have won two apiece since then.

Husband and wife Shawna and Keifer Thompson continued their feel-good story as Thompson Square won its second straight vocal duo of the year award.