Justin Gaston appears in her CMA performance – as Cyrus cheers them on

By Kay West
Updated November 13, 2008 09:20 AM
Credit: Jemal Countess/WireImage; Tony R. Phipps/FilmMagic(2)

Miley Cyrus walked the red carpet alone Wednesday night at the Country Music Association Awards, strutting her stuff in a form-fitting dress by Roberto Cavalli.

So where was boyfriend Justin Gaston?

“I’m flying solo tonight,” Cyrus, 15, told PEOPLE at the Nashville ceremony. “Justin is making an appearance in Taylor [Swift’s] song. But that’s okay, because it means my two best friends are on stage at the same time!”

After sitting in on rehearsals with her boyfriend and B.F.F, Cyrus said, “I can’t wait to see that!”

And no wonder. Swift‘s performance of her hit “Love Story” was one of the night’s big highlights, complete with elaborate set, waltzing dancers and Gaston, in the role of a Disney-esque Prince Charming, which he also portrays in her video.

But the 20-year-old never forgot his real leading lady.

“I saw [Miley] briefly,” Gaston told PEOPLE before his big number. “She really looks pretty.”

Cyrus’s dad, Billy Ray, also attended the awards show – and, as usual, he had nothing but kind words for his daughter’s much-older boyfriend.

“Can you believe how far this kid has come?” Billy Ray asked PEOPLE. “Just a few months ago when I first saw him perform on Nashville Star, I said he was going to be a big star. He’s got it all – talent, looks, personality. And look at him! Look where he is now!”

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