The song’s the thing for Swift, Perry at CMAs

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Lady Antebellum, whose crossover appeal is rivaled only by Swift‘s, won its third straight vocal group of the year award and Sugarland took vocal duo of the year for the fifth straight time.

That theme also carried over to the stage where stars from different genres came together for some of the CMA’s strongest performances. The show also featured plenty of sexy dancing, fire and belching smoke special effects and, at one point, acrobats spinning down from the ceiling on lengths of unspooling fabric.

Lionel Richie had every star buzzing on the red carpet before performing duets from his new country album with Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker and Little Big Town. He posed for a picture with Lambert and gave advice to Lady Antebellum on the red carpet.

Gregg Allman joined fellow Peach State natives Zac Brown Band on “Georgia on my Mind,” Natasha Bedingfield, in a dress that featured a fluffy red skirt, joined Rascal Flatts on stage to perform their duet “Easy,” and that was just the start of genre shuffling.

Shelton and Kenny Loggins opened the show with a high-energy version of Loggins’ hit “Footloose.” Later, Glen Campbell, one of country’s biggest crossover pioneers who is now battling Alzheimer’s disease, was given a musical tribute when Vince Gill, Keith Urban and Brad Paisley sang three of his songs.

Richie hadn’t performed on the CMAs since 1986 when he appeared with Alabama. He noted the show has changed dramatically over the decades, as has country music.

“It’s Cirque de Soleil … it’s full-on production,” Richie said. “This is off-the-chain. This is the Oscars of the music business, the CMAs.”

Lambert and Shelton made a little history when they took male and female vocalist of the year. They’re the second married couple to win the awards in the same year.

“Congrats to my hubby, too,” Lambert shouted from the stage to Shelton on the eve of her 28th birthday. “It’s going to be a good night tonight, baby!” The camera cut to Shelton, who rubbed his hands together and smiled devilishly.

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Online:

http://www.cmaawards.com

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