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Carrie Underwood takes the wheel at Academy of Country Music Awards; Kenny Chesney gets the boot

April 6, 2009 | 10:57 am

Victories at the Academy of Country Music Awards by Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift hit the Nashville music scene like earthquakes. Sure, Carrie Underwood had won ACM prizes in the past, but just a few years ago she had trouble pushing aside Dixie's good ol' boys so she could be taken seriously by these industry establishment awards. This year she blasted through, taking Taylor Swift with her, knocking the boys on their keisters.

Carrie underwood acm

No doubt Kenny Chesney is already blaming his loss as the Academy of Country Music's entertainer of the year to the introduction of fan voting again, just like he griped last year — when he nonetheless won, as usual. But Kenny Chesney's defeat this year by Underwood was part of a bigger shakeup. Kenny's fellow good ol' boys, Brooks & Dunn, lost best duo group to Sugarland. Taylor Swift's triumph in the best-album race is a shockeroo considering she's only 19 years old — that is, less than half the age of the average voters, who tend to reward the same veterans year after year, like favored kin.

That's the history of the ACM Awards. Lots of artists on repeat winning streaks. They tend to hold on faithfully for years, then suddenly get jilted. Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, Alabama and George Strait may still win a stray prize now and then, but their dominant reigns seem to be over.

So now we must wonder: is the same true for Kenny Chesney and Brooks & Dunn? New artists seem to be firmly in the country-music saddles these days including Brad Paisley, who, like Carrie Underwood, faced trouble breaking in just a few years ago.

See a rundown of all Academy of Country Music Awards winners and losers this year here.

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Photo of Carrie Underwood by Mark J. Terriill / Getty Images

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