Global superstar Taylor Swift was recognized by the Country Music Association with an award that’s only been handed out once before. The CMA award show was held Wednesday night at Bridgestone Arena.
Presenting the 23-year-old Swift with the CMA Pinnacle Award were all the artists she opened for as a teenager and now has surpassed by so many measures, like Brad Paisley.
“I sat on a speaker by the side of the stage and watched him every single night because he was funny and I’ll never be that funny and it makes me sad,” Swift said on stage, also surrounded by Rascal Flats, George Strait and Tim McGraw, who she once wrote a song about.
Taylor said Strait taught her “to play the songs your fans want to hear.”
Garth Brooks is the only other recipient of the Pinnacle Award, which was created in 2005 to recognize someone who reached worldwide fame.
Husband and wife Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert both won male and female vocalist of the year for the fourth time. Shelton also picked up album of the year.
The late George Jones was memorialized in a tearful duet by Alan Jackson and George Straight.
Straight also stunned the crowd by winning entertainer of the year, an award he last won 23 years ago.
There were a few unexpected cameos during the televised broadcast on ABC, including from rapper Sean Combs, better known as P. Diddy.
“Music City I’m here,” Diddy yelled into the microphone. “I’ve always been a kinda down-low country fan, but I’m coming out tonight.”