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All of the big winners at the 2012 ACM Awards came backstage for interviews Sunday night in Las Vegas. Here are the highlights:

Taylor Swift had asked teen cancer patient Kevin McGuire of New Jersey to be her date Sunday night, but he was hospitalized a few days ago. Taylor explains, “Kevin has leukemia, and he got a virus a couple days ago, and his count was too low, and he couldn’t make it.”

She spoke to Kevin by phone on Saturday and told him, “The next awards show that he’s well for, like, we’re going.”

Taylor’s Entertainer of the Year win comes just weeks after she closed out her wildly successful Speak Now World Tour in Australia. This big win caps off the era of the Speak Now album and tour, and now Taylor’s looking forward to her next project.

“I’m writing my next record right now as I have been for the last two years, but intensely writing my next record right now,” Taylor explains. ” So, I hope it’s good. Keep your fingers crossed. I would love it if it was good.”

Miranda Lambert won her third consecutive ACM Female Vocalist trophy and her third overall Album of the Year award with Four the Record Sunday night. Miranda admits she really wanted to win those trophies, but she thinks it’s time for someone else to win those awards next year.

Miranda explains, “I do believe that a time comes where for certain awards you pass the torch, and I’m ready to do that.”

Miiranda brought her grandmother, who she calls “Nani,” to the ACMs, but Nani didn’t want to hang out with Miranda’s industry friends after the show.

Miranda says, “My grandmother is rockin’. She was like, ‘I’m not gonna go to the after parties, I’m going to the slots.’

— ACM Awards co-host Blake Shelton poked fun at Taylor Swift for always having a shocked look on her face when she wins awards, but Blake means no harm by it.

He says, “She’s just one of those once in a lifetime stars that comes along that makes a difference, and we’re lucky enough in country music to call her one of us, and that’s pretty cool.” Blake adds with a laugh, “I’m always gonna make fun of her in my monologues, so she might as well get used to that.”

Blake also took the ACM Male Vocalist trophy, but he couldn’t celebrate too much after the show. Blake heads to Los Angeles Monday to appear as a mentor on NBC’s The Voice. It’s their first live shows of the season, and he says, “I’m so thrilled that I’m not hosting that tomorrow.”

Jason Aldean found out he’d won the Vocal Event award with Kelly Clarkson for “Don’t You Wanna Stay” while doing an interview on the red carpet. The head of the ACM came up to him and told him the good news. Jason and Kelly also won Single of the Year.

Lady Antebellum accepted their Vocal Group of the Year trophy from the rock group Kiss. Lady A’s Charles Kelley was a bit fascinated with Kiss on the red carpet.

“That was all we could keep focusing on was Kiss coming in and out,” he says. “They looked larger than life because I think they had about 12 inch heels on.”

Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum actually celebrated her birthday Saturday night in Las Vegas. She says, “My husband and I went to see La Reve, and then went to a really great dinner and met up with our band and crew and had a couple of drinks at a hotel bar.”

Eli Young Band won their first ACM Award Sunday night, and lead singer Mike Eli admits he was waiting to find out it was all an April Fool’s joke.

His band mate James Young admits he started shaking as they accepted Single of the Year for “Crazy Girl.”

“It’s so surreal, and we’ve been at this for 10 plus years now and started grassroots and just four guys making music — college bars and whatnot, and here we are today, James says.  “It’s hard to wrap your head around still.”

Scotty McCreery thanked his loyal fans for voting him this year’s ACM New Artist of the Year. Scotty also revealed he’s going to North Carolina State University for college this fall. It’s close to his hometown of Garner, NC.

Scotty plans to move to Nashville eventually, but he says, “I think at 18 years old I still got a lot of learning to do. I just don’t know if I’m ready to make the move away from home for good, for good yet. Give me a couple years, and I’ll be more mature.”

Toby Keith says the crazy vibe of his ACM Awards performance of “Red Solo Cup” is very similar to what it felt like on the set of the song’s video, which was named Video of the Year.

The Warren Brothers were writers on the song, and Toby admits those guys thought the video shoot was a joke at first. He says, ” They thought we were doing an episode of Punk’d. They did. They were going, ‘at what point are you going to tell us this is fake?'”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


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