"I've always been a hugger," the best new artist Grammy nominee tells PEOPLE
Credit: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty

Called upon on Thursday to be one of the announcers of the 50th annual Grammy Awards nominations, country star Taylor Swift heard her own name announced by the Foo Fighters – she’s in the running as best new artist.

That was all the 17-year-old had to hear. Flush with excitement, an ecstatic Swift rushed right over to Foo Fighters Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins and hugged them like crazy.

Not to be outdone, fellow announcer George Lopez reached over and embraced Swift.

“Don’t worry, Taylor,” said Grohl, “you got it in the bag.”

Catching her breath, Swift told PEOPLE: “I’m star-struck.”

And as for her demonstrative reaction? “I’ve always been a hugger,” she says. “I honestly did not think I was going to get nominated, so when they said my name I just felt like hugging somebody. I’m glad that everyone started hugging. If we all hugged more, the world would be a better place.”

Already, the Pennsylvania-born Swift’s self-titled debut album has gone double platinum, selling more than 1 million units since its release about a year ago.

Amazing Year

As for all the buzz circulating around her, Swift observed, “It’s been a really amazing year, and we had a lot of success at the CMAs this year, and I won the Horizon Award – and that was amazing.”

At the prospect of possibly losing sleep until the Grammys are announced on Feb. 10, Swift said, “You know, as far as trouble sleeping – you can’t control award shows. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can control what I say, I can control how I act, I can control what I do on a stage, but I can’t control awards shows so, I try not to get nervous about it.”

Also experiencing the joy of the nominations Thursday: Akon, who earlier this week made news when he pleaded not guilty in a case related to him tossing a fan off the concert stage.

He told PEOPLE after he heard Fergie announce his nod for, among other categories, contemporary R&B album (Konvicted), “This is starting off to [be] a great morning.

Reporting by Oliver Jones, Marisa Laudadio, Lesley Messer and Stephen M. Silverman