* Underwood takes her place among country's greats
* Lambert wins best album, top female vocalist
* Lady Antebellum wins for best song, top single
By Dan Whitcomb
LAS VEGAS, April 18 Carrie Underwood was named
country music's top entertainer for the second year in a row
on Sunday and Miranda Lambert won three awards, including best
album, as the two young women ruled the once male-dominated
Academy of Country Music Awards.
Underwood, a small-town Oklahoma girl who first shot to
fame only five years ago on TV's "American Idol," became the
first woman to win Entertainer of the Year twice -- firmly
taking her place among country music's greats.
She was also given a special Triple Crown award for having
already won three top awards -- new artist, female vocalist and
entertainer of the year -- during her short career.
"Thank you God, praise the Lord," an exuberant Underwood,
27, said from the stage at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas during a
show broadcast live on CBS and hosted by Reba McEntire. "Thank
you country music, God bless you country music."
Underwood's win comes just months after 20-year-old Taylor
Swift was named entertainer of the year at the rival Country
Music Awards, and she said backstage that it was a big night
for women in country music.
"It's not just (Taylor and I), it's Miranda, she was all
over the place tonight, and Reba who always continues to show
us how it's done," Underwood said. "There are many beautiful,
strong, extremely talented women making headlines left and
right and I'm just so honored to be with them."
'THANKS FOR LOVING IT'
Lady Antebellum also had a lot to celebrate, winning top
top vocal group to snap a seven-year streak by Rascal Flatts.
The Nashville-based trio's huge crossover hit "Need You Now,"
which spent five weeks at the top of the Billboard country
chart, won for both best song and best single.
Lambert, 26, was named top female vocalist and given the
prestigious award for best album for "Revolution," as well as
taking home the best video prize for "White Liar."
"This music is what I do, it's the only thing I live for,
thanks for loving it," Lambert said in accepting the best album
trophy. Backstage, she seemed to be still stunned, telling
reporters: "Are you freaking kidding me? I'm completely
shocked. I don't even know what to say. That came out nowhere
Underwood and Lambert kicked off the show, opening with an
impassioned version of Creedence Clearwater Revival's 1970
rocker "Travelin' Band." They were joined for a verse by former
Creedence leader John Fogerty.
Underwood competed for the fan-voted Entertainer of the
Year against a field that includes a larger number of eight
nominees, including veteran Kenny Chesney, who won it four
years in a row until she snapped his streak in 2009.
Last year, Underwood became only the seventh woman to take
Brad Paisley was named top male vocalist for the fourth
year in a row and Brooks & Dunn, who have announced that they
will split up after a farewell tour, won for best vocal duo.
Luke Bryan was give the best new artist award.
(Editing by Vicki Allen)