Happily, the Country Song star didn't embarrass herself warbling the title track from her new film, costarring Leighton Meester (on hand to introduce pal Taylor Swift) and Tim McGraw, who swooped in at the last minute Wednesday to present the night's top honor, Entertainer of the Year, to...Brad Paisley?
It sure seemed like momentum was building in either Lambert, who was also celebrating her 27th birthday, or Lady Antebellum's direction (they would have been the first group to win since the Dixie Chicks in 2000). But you can't ever count the touring tour de force that is Paisley out.
"My hero, Little Jimmy Dickens, has a saying: If you see a turtle on a fence post, it had help getting up there. I feel just like a turtle on the fence post at this point," Paisley said in thanks.
"It sounds like a cliché when you say thanks to the fans," he continued, "but the great thing about country fans is, when you say fans, I don't even mean mine. You guys are loyal to everyone in this room. It's the most amazing loyal fan base in the world."
He also thanked actress wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley for "saving me from despair."
But it was Lambert, who led the field with nine nominations, who added three CMAs to her trophy trove and made four trips to the podium, for Female Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year, Music Video of the Year and Song of the Year, which was awarded to writers Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin.
(Barring ties, she only could've won seven times anyway—she was up twice for Single and Music Video of the Year.)
"Revolution has truly caused a revolution in my life this year," Lambert said. "Thanks to the country music industry. It's my baby, it's what I do, it's what I live for. Thanks for loving it, too."
Nice trick, ABC, leaving Paltrow's debut for last, but in the end she was just another artist at the the annual lovefest, which features far more performances than award categories.