LAS VEGAS (AP) _ George Strait, who came into Tuesday's annual Academy of Country Music Awards show with a leading eight nominations, claimed the first award of the night, winning song of the year for ``Give It Away.''
Carrie Underwood, the 2005 ``American Idol: winner, followed soon after with a win for album of the year for her debut CD ``Some Hearts.'' She came into the competition with five nominations.
As he collected his song of the year trophy, Strait seemed particularly touched that as an older performer he wasn't forgotten.
``I'm old enough to be Carrie Underwood's grandfather,'' the 55-year-old said of his 24-year-old fellow singer.
Straight was also nominated for entertainer of the year, along with Brooks & Dunn, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw and two-time winner Kenny Chesney.
Miranda Lambert, who also was nominated for best female vocalist, won the new female vocalist award, beating out former ``American Idol'' contestant Kellie Pickler and teenage country star Taylor Swift.
During the show, Swift performed her hit song, ``Tim McGraw,'' as its namesake and his wife, country star Faith Hill, sat in the audience, beaming.
Lambert attended the ceremonies with boyfriend and fellow country singer Blake Shelton, but he missed her victory.
``He went to the bathroom just as I was winning, so I had nobody to hug,'' she said.
Brooks & Dunn, the academy's top trophy winners with 22 between them, had seven nominations this year including top vocal duo _ a category they have dominated since 1991. Stiff competition this year included Sugarland, Montgomery Gentry, Big & Rich and the Wreckers.
``We're going to lose it sooner or later. We did it before,'' Ronnie Dunn said. The Dixie Chicks won in 1998 and 1999 when the category was briefly expanded to duo or group.
Rascal Flatts was up for best vocal group, best album and best single, as well as entertainer of the year.
Underwood, whose dark hit ``Before He Cheats'' dominated the video awards at last month's fan-voted Country Music Television Music Awards, was also up for best female vocalist, single of the year, song of the year and video of the year at the ACMs, where winners are picked by the 4,500-member academy.
The entertainment-driven program, hosted by Reba McEntire, was slated to hand out just a dozen awards. The show was airing live on CBS Television from the MGM Grand hotel-casino, beginning at 8 p.m. EDT, with a tape-delayed broadcast for the West Coast.
Along with the top nominees, performers were to include Martina McBride, Josh Turner, Toby Keith, Sugarland, and Brad Paisley.
Brooks & Dunn earlier were named recipients of the Home Depot Humanitarian Award, joining past honorees McEntire, Vince Gill, Lonestar, McBride and Neal McCoy. The group will be honored with two playgrounds to be built in cities of their choice.
``It's a pretty cool thing. I told them we're a duo, so they should give us two. They didn't blink an eye,'' Dunn said. He is looking for a playground spot in Nashville. Partner Kix Brooks has chosen Shreveport, La.
Other artists whose awards were announced before Tuesday's show include: Producer Dann Huff; bass, Glenn Worf; drums, Eddie Bayers; fiddle, Aubrey Haynie; guitar, Brent Mason; keyboard, John Hobbs; specialty instrument (fiddle, mandolin), Stuart Duncan; steel guitar, Michael Johnson.