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'Thug Story' and beyond: The Taylor Swift award show reign begins

June 16, 2009 |  9:20 pm
Carrie Underwood may have been the entertainer of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards, but the baton was passed to Taylor Swift last night at Country Music Television Awards gala. The artist won video of the year for her "Love Story," and while the telecast is nothing but a mega-commercial for the video network, expect it to be the beginning of T-Swift's award show winnings over the course of the next year.

She won the top prize at the video ceremony last year, but now she's begining her victory lap for her sophmore effort "Fearless." Swift's Disney-esque "Love Story" clip also won female video of the year, and she closed the ceremony performing "Pour Some Sugar on Me" with Def Leppard. The appearance was to hype the DVD release of Swift and Leppard's "Crossroads" special, but it also felt like a nod to the arena-pop era of country that was ushered in by Leppard's producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange and Shania Twain.

Other major winners included Brad Paisley, who took home best male video for "Waitin' on a Woman," and Rascal Flatts, which won group video of the year for "Every Day." Sugarland won duo of the year for "All I Want to Do," and the Zac Brown Band's "Chicken Fried" was named breakthrough video.

Spectacle reigned supreme tonight, with the B-52's joining Sugarland for a cover of "Love Shack," and Swift opening the show by donning Vulcan ears and playing "Star Trek." A few moments later, she joined T-Pain for a novelty rap titled "Thug Story" -- a certain iTunes hit if it gets released (it's embedded below, and we apologize for the ad in the clip). Playing the character of "T-Sweezy," Swift declares that she's never really been in a club, still lives with her parents, and charmed while delivering Weird Al-worthy lines. Rapped Swift, "What? What? I knit sweaters, yo!"

Indeed, the night was largely a showcase for the young star, who still seems to be on the rise despite already being the top-selling artist of 2008. Her 2008 album "Fearless" has already sold more than 3.3 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, and with a sold-out tour, as well as the ability to not take herself too seriously, Swift further set herself up for a massive number of nominations come Grammy time at the end of this year.

Her "Fearless" was released too late to be considered for the Grammys that aired in February, but its momentum isn't slowing. Expect a sales bump going into next week, and expect her to score an album of the year nod. Can we she win? We're not putting it past her. As she rapped tonight, "You don't want to fight me / In my extra-small white T." Did you catch that, Kanye? 

--Todd Martens

Photo credit: Getty Images