Taylor Swift Presents CMT Breakthrough Video Award to Gabby Barrett — 13 Years After She Won
Taylor Swift returned to the CMT Music Awards — and because she's Taylor Swift, there's an Easter egg involved, of course!
The "Cardigan" singer, who has six CMT Music Awards herself, joined the virtual telecast to present Gabby Barrett with the breakthrough video of the year award for "I Hope."
"That's amazing! Oh my gosh. Okay, I don't even know what to say because I didn't really think that I was going to win. But first, oh my gosh, my fake trophy in my hand right here, I would like to thank my Lord and savior Jesus Christ, because I wouldn't be able to be doing what I love every single day without Him. So thank you, Lord," Barrett said in her remote acceptance speech.
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"Secondly, all the fans that voted, thank you so much. That's something that I really loved about country music coming into it was how loyal the fanbases are and how they just incredibly love the people that they love, so thank you guys so much. I would like to thank my husband, my family back in Pittsburgh, my entire team ... I'm so new to this, this is my first time receiving a television award, so thank you so much CMT."
Barrett, 20, was nominated for the award alongside Blanco Brown ("The Git Up"), Caylee Hammack ("Family Tree"), Ingrid Andress ("More Than Mine"), Riley Green ("I Wish Grandpas Never Died") and Travis Denning ("After a Few").
Barrett — who is pregnant with her first child with husband Cade Foehner, whom she met on Idol — rose to fame after placing third on the 16th season of American Idol. She released "I Hope," her debut single off her first album Goldmine, last year; it went on to hit No. 1. Barrett performed the crossover hit earlier during the show, backed by husband Foehner on guitar.
Presenter Swift, 30, has a special connection to the breakthrough video of the year award: She won it herself 13 years ago, in 2007, for her first single "Tim McGraw." (As any good Swiftie knows, 13 is the star's lucky number.) "I can't even believe that this is real," Swift, then 17, said while accepting her trophy at the time. "This is definitely the highlight of my senior year!"
Though Swift transitioned from country to pop music in 2014 with her smash album 1989, she hasn't abandoned her Nashville roots. She wrote Little Big Town's acclaimed 2017 hit "Better Man." Her Sugarland collab "Babe" was up for two CMT Music Awards in 2019. And just last month, she performed "Betty" — the twangy, return-to-form standout on her new album, Folklore — at the Academy of Country Music Awards.
The 2020 CMT Music Awards are airing live from Nashville on Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST on CMT, MTV, MTV2, Logo, Paramount Network, Pop and TV Land.