Taylor Swift knew she was the recipient of the 2013 Pinnacle Award at the CMAs last night, but she had no idea that so many of her superstar friends and colleagues would present it in such a big way.
After performing her song “Red” with Allison Krauss, all of the country artists (Rascal Flatts, George Strait, Brad Paisley, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Keith Urban) who had Taylor open up for them in her teen years appeared onstage to talk about her success.
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“We have all seen her grow up into a beautiful woman and a truly global superstar,” Tim shared.
From there, a video message played of stars applauding the 23-year-old for all that she has accomplished and her charitable efforts. Taylor’s idol Ethel Kennedy appeared in the clip along with Justin Timberlake, Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts, Ellen DeGeneres, and Mick Jagger (she lost it when she saw the Rolling Stones frontman congratulating her).
Taylor, who sat with her parents and brother, took the stage in a gorgeous red Elie Saab gown to accept the award. She reminisced about touring with each act and thanked everyone who played a part in getting her to where she is today. At the end of the speech, she began crying.
Read her full speech below:
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“What? You know, they told me that this was going to happen, but I didn’t know there was going to be all this and the packet and the video. My parents are not just crying — they’re actually bawling at this point. I remember when I was 16 and I first got the call from my label, “Can you be on the road in two days to open up for Rascal Flatts?” I said, “Are you kidding me? This has to be a miracle.” He said, “No, it’s not a miracle. Eric Church was playing too long.” But then I got a call that I was going to go on the road with George Strait and then I got a call from Brad Paisley and I toured with him for nine months and I sat on a speaker on the side of the stage every night because he was funny and I’ll never be that funny and it makes me so mad. And Keith Urban, I toured with him. Tim and Faith have a style at a level that no one can reach...To the CMA and whoever made this choice, you’re not only rewarding my hard work and exhaustion, you’re rewarding the hard work and exhaustion of my family, my label, and anyone who works with me and most of all, the fans who fill out the stadiums. I love you. And on behalf of all of those people, thank you, I love you. You made me feel so special right now, thank you!”
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Taylor is only the second country star to receive the rare honor. The CMA created the award in 2005 and presented it to Garth Brooks that year. It acknowledges an artist who has achieved both national and international success in country music.
The "22" singer also took home two other awards last night: Musical Event of the Year and Music Video of the Year for “Highway Don’t Care” with Tim McGraw and Keith Urban.
Watch the full Taylor presentation and speech below:
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