"I just want to say that music has never really been about competition," an emotional Taylor said, accepting the award via satellite, as her busy tour schedule kept her from the awards ceremony. "And to even be mentioned in the category with Michael Jackson, who will be missed and loved forever ... I'm sending my love to the Jackson family and to Janet for reaching out to me the way you have. I love you. Thank you so much."
Taylor wasn't the only country artist to take home an AMA. Rascal Flatts won their fifth American Music Award, taking home the trophy for Favorite Country Band, Duo or Group at Sunday's show. Sharing the category with Sugarland and the Zac Brown Band, Rascal Flatts have won the American Music Award in this category every year they have been nominated. "You guys have been amazing employers this year," Gary Levox joked to the audience. "Thank you! Keep employing us!"
Keith Urban, nominated with Darius Rucker and Jason Aldean, took home his first American Music Award for Favorite Country Male Artist. Presented the award by the Zac Brown Band, Keith said, "I love you guys!" Dedicating the award to two special people in his life, he continued, "To my wife, I just love you so much. This is for you and Sunday."
Winning the T-Mobile Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award, Gloriana took home their first major award since the band formed a little over a year ago. Thanking the fans and country radio, the band also acknowledged the artist they credit with giving them their start: "Miss Taylor Swift. She believed in us took us out on the road before anyone knew who we were," Gloriana's Tom Gossin said.
Gloriana joined Lady Gaga, Kid Cudi and Keri Helson in the category, and they acknowledged that they felt the award was a milestone for country music. "We're going to be representing country -- we're very, very proud of that," Mike Gossin told The Boot last week. "It's kind of like an award that's a battle of the genres, so we need to bring this award home for country."