Taylor and Carrie Underwood vie with veterans Reba McEntire and George Strait on Sunday

Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty; Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Country music sensation Taylor Swift, who’s adept at reaching fans through social media, can also credit the Internet for connecting her with the backup singers who will be performing with her at this Sunday’s Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas, to air on CBS.

After seeing a YouTube video of the University of California San Diego’s 16-voice choir, the Tritones, singing a version of her hit “You Belong With Me,” Swift, 20, tracked down the band’s manager and invited them to join her on stage for the show, Country Weekly reports.

Swift’s latest Web outreach illustrates just one way that a generation of up-and-coming country stars, who include Carrie Underwood and the trio Lady Antebellum, have helped put a bright new face on the industry.

Some music veterans are tapping into the power of the Internet, too: Fans of longtime duo Brooks & Dunn voted online for which song the duo will perform at the show.

Technology aside, competition should be fierce at this year’s awards, which has a strong representation of some of country music’s most iconic stars. Among them: Reba McEntire, who will host the show for the 12th time and is up for Top Female Vocalist; George Strait, nominated for Entertainer of the Year and Top Male Vocalist; and Brooks & Dunn, who are launching a farewell tour and will perform – possibly for the last time together at the ACM awards, according to some reports.

Lady Antebellum Leads

The spotlight is aimed on the younger set, however. Lady Antebellum, whose sophomore album, Need You Now, has sold 1.5 million copies, leads the field with seven nominations. Underwood is up for six awards – as is Miranda Lambert.

Swift, whose multiple trophies include entertainer of the year at the Country Music Association Awards, follows with five nominations. She’s up against Underwood for Entertainer of the Year, a category that will be voted upon by fans.

But Strait, 57, could prove a formidable rival for that honor. With his latest single, “I Gotta Get To You,” Strait has had a Billboard Top 10 Hot Country hit every year for three decades. That’s a feat no other artist has accomplished in the history of any Billboard chart, according to Country Weekly.