Blondes really do have more fun. At least, they do at the CMT Music Awards.
Taylor Swift , the winner of last year's trophy for Breakthrough Video, was promoted to seasoned status Monday, taking home the awards for Video of the Year and Female Video of the Year for the sweet-natured "Our Song," off of her self-titled debut album.
"Are you serious? I can't even believe this," the 18-year-old singer-songwriter said upon accepting female video honors, for which she beat out LeAnn Rimes, Martina McBride, Miranda Lambert and the belle of last year's ball, Carrie Underwood, who seemingly for the first time since accepting the American Idol crown came up empty-handed at a country-themed kudosfest.
"I wrote that song in the 9th grade for a talent show," Swift added while accepting the evening's top honor. "I never thought it would be on an album, never thought I'd record it, never thought it would be a single, never thought it would be No. 1 and certainly never thought it would win video and female video of the year."
Topping Swift numerically, however, was similarly fair-haired Idol also-ran Kellie Pickler, who had a leading three wins at the fan-driven event celebrating the crème de la crème of Country Music Television.
The calamari-hating 21-year-old from Albemarle, N.C., was handed the Breakthrough Video of the Year torch for "I Wonder," which also was named Tearjerker of the Year and earned Pickler a third statue for best performance from her rendition of the song at the 41st Annual CMA Awards.
"Thank you American Idol, you are the rocket that launched my career," Pickler said in response to her breakthrough win, the same honor a just-starting-out Underwood snagged in 2006 for "Jesus Take the Wheel."
Speaking of taking the world by storm, Monday's ceremony at Nashville's Belmont University was hosted by Disney Channel phenom Miley Cyrus and dad Billy Ray Cyrus, who let the fans at home know he was onto 'em.
"I didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday…it's pretty obvious what you're all doing. You're just using Miley to get to me," he said. The father and daughter also teamed up on the tune "Ready, Set, Don't Go," the elder Cyrus' first top-40 hit on the country charts since 2000's "You Won't Be Lonely Now."
In keeping with the harmony in the Cyrus clan, the proverbial battle of the sexes never made its way into the theater Monday, with most of the evening's collaborative awards going to male-female duos.
Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush of Sugarland took home their second straight Duo Video of the Year award, this time for "Stay," while Jon Bon Jovi and Rimes were honored for best collaboration for the steamy "Till We Ain't Strangers Anymore."
"I had a lot of fun rolling around with Jon in bed," Rimes said before quickly telling hubby Dean Sheremet, "Sorry, honey, I love you—you're hotter."
"Gone, Gone, Gone (Done Moved On)," from the so-wrong-it's-right pair of blugrass chanteuse Alison Krauss and Led Zeppelinite Robert Plant, won the Wide Open Country video award, which embraces the artists who have strayed into the genre and ended up fitting right in. The seemingly odd couple have won rave reviews for their 2007 album Raising Sand.
Meanwhile, holding down the fort for the gents were Celebrity Apprentice runner-up Trace Adkins, who won best male video for "I Got My Game On" and spawned a top Supporting Character award for "Game" vocalist Rodney Carrington; the perennially honored Rascal Flatts, whose "Take Me There" won for group video; and Brad Paisley, who apparently tickled fans' funny bones in "Online," which was named top Comedy (albeit still musical) Video of the Year.
Here is the complete list of winners from the 2008 CMT Music Awards: