Not according to Faith Hill, who says the CMA entertainer of the year has "worked her tail off"

By Eileen Finan
November 13, 2009 02:00 PM
Rick Diamond/Getty

Taylor Swift became the youngest winner of country music’s top award Wednesday night – but is the 19-year-old getting too many accolades too soon?

Not according to Faith Hill, who Swift has often cited as one of her longtime idols. “I think she worked her tail off the last couple [of years] and she deserves to win,” Hill told PEOPLE Thursday of Swift’s entertainer of the year award.

Added husband Tim McGraw, “I’ve been doing this a long time and she’s got a better head on her shoulders than I do, so I don’t know how anybody could complain about that.”

PHOTOS: Taylor’s Big, Amazing Year
But some have questioned Swift’s rapid rise. Before Wednesday’s CMAs, Wynonna Judd told USA Today that the teen’s nomination for the prestigious award could be “too much of a good thing too soon.” (Swift beat out country heavyweights Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney and George Strait.)

Judd later apologized to Swift in a note on her Web site, calling her “a beautiful, hard working young woman that deserves the success she has had.”

But fellow country veteran Randy Travis also wondered if the award wasn’t premature. “As a writer, she is a phenomenal talent,” Travis told PEOPLE. “When you look at the body of work that she has written at the age when she came into this business, it’s remarkable. It really is. But do I think that entertainer of the year might have been a little early? In my opinion, yes, for whatever that’s worth.”

Swift, who was 14 when she signed her first publishing deal, addressed the question after her historic win, telling reporters, “I feel like it’s been fast but it’s also been a growth curve. I’ve watched the CMA Awards for as long as I can remember, and I got to come to my first one when I was 15. I know what it means to win a CMA Award. So I look at it from both ways.”

For more on Taylor Swift and all your favorite country stars, check out the new issue of PEOPLE Country on stands now. And for free downloads from Sugarland, Jack Ingram and others, go to people.com/free

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