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Here’s a roundup of what Thursday night’s CMA Award winners had to say backstage after they accepted their trophies:

— Blake Shelton was absolutely shocked to win CMA Entertainer of the Year given the stiff competition he faced in that category.

Blake said backstage Thursday night, “There’s Taylor Swift right there. I mean, really? This is pretty dumb that there’s anybody else nominated.”

Blake’s big win came in large part because of the massive exposure he’s gained as a coach on NBC’s The Voice, but he stressed that country music is still his first priority.

“I’ve got so much more I want to do,” Blake says of his music career. “I’m still trying to figure out how to even schedule all the things that I want to do.”

Though being on The Voice takes away from Blake’s tour schedule a bit, he adds, “That’s about it, you know. I still make records, and I still tour as much as I can.”

— — Miranda Lambert shared the CMA Song of the Year trophy with her husband Blake Shelton for co-writing “Over You.” The song was inspired by Blake’s late brother, who died in a car accident many years ago. Miranda has always wanted to win in that category, and she wasn’t shy about proclaiming it either.

She said backstage, “I spoke it out to the universe, I would love to take it.” Blake isn’t as bold though.

“He has this thing where he won’t say it ’cause he thinks you’re hexing it or something,” Miranda says with a laugh.

Miranda also took her third straight Female Vocalist trophy Thursday night, and she’s enjoying this stretch of success while it lasts saying “I feel like there’s a time for every artist to have their time, and you don’t know when that time’s gonna be over or when it’s gonna happen.”

Miranda took time backstage to explain why Blake truly deserved the Entertainer of the Year trophy too. She did a lot of research on that category when she was nominated for Entertainer a few years back, and Miranda says, “I realized that it just meant not only touring numbers, not only ticket sales or how much production you have, but the way that you represented country music within a year.”

A big part of that representation happens through the media and an artist’s exposure on television is a big part of that equation. Pointing to his high profile TV presence, Miranda says, “When you think of it that way, Blake Shelton deserved to win that trophy tonight.”

Little Big Town won their first two CMA Awards Thursday night for Vocal Group and Single of the Year with “Pontoon.” The wins come 13 years after they first got together as a band, and they’ve overcome a lot of struggles in that time.

Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild said backstage, “We just really always kept showing up and believing and dreaming and working really hard and it happened, it’s happened for us. You never know what’s around the corner.”

Little Big Town hopes their current success encourages artists following in their footsteps too.

“We’re like every songwriter and struggling artist and person that’s out there singing and trying to make it — we’re their story,” Karen said.

Eric Church‘s Chief was named CMA Album of the Year Thursday night, and he thanked the country community for giving him a home during his acceptance speech. Eric’s brand of country has a prominent rock element to it, and he thinks country music’s cool factor is definitely on the rise. As a case in point, Eric recalls that college students would have never worn a country artist’s t-shirt on campus just a few years ago. That’s all changed now.

Eric says, “Whatever’s happened over the last five, six, seven years, that’s all I see now.” He adds, “Frankly, I think country has always been the coolest format. I just think that’s now it’s in a great space creatively.”

Eric took his time making Chief, and he’s going to wait for creativity to strike again before making the follow up.

Speaking of Chief, Eric said, “We kinda had nothing to lose when we made this record. We let creativity be the driver, and in doing that, in doing it that way, I think that’s hopefully how you end up with something like this.”

Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney won their second Musical of the Year trophy Thursday for “Feel Like a Rock Star.” They actually took that trophy in 2007 with Tracy Lawrence for “Find Out Who Your Friends Are,” and this win comes more than two decades into Tim and Kenny’s friendship.

Tim said backstage, “We’d sit back in our apartments back in the old days, we would never dream of this. Well, we’d dream about it.”

Thompson Square won their first Duo of the Year trophy, breaking Sugarland‘s five-year streak in that category. The duo’s Keifer and Shawna Thompson just built a new house down in Alabama, and Shawna says, “We have some nice bookshelves to put ’em on.” Keifer adds, “They’re empty right now, so this would be a great space filler.

— CMA New Artist of the Year Hunter Hayes also performed on the show for the first time, and he admitted singing in front of his country music peers was nerve-racking.

“I’m a huge fan of so many people sitting in this room, and I respect them so much, and I just want them to like me,” Hunter says with a laugh of his first CMA performance. “I want to do a good job.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


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