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Taylor Swift reaches Pinnacle of country music with CMA's rare honor

She’s only 23 years old, but Taylor Swift has already reached a Pinnacle moment in her career. The country pop princess, became only the second performer ever to receive the Country Music Association’s Pinnacle Award at Wednesday night's CMA Awards in Nashville.

Image: Taylor Swift Harrison McClary / Reuters
Taylor Swift accepts the CMA Pinnacle Award from Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, George Straight and Keith Urban at the 47th Country Music Association Awards in Nashville on Nov. 6.

Swift wiped tears from her eyes as the biggest names in entertainment, including Ellen DeGeneres, Reese Witherspoon, Justin Timberlake, Julia Roberts, and Mick Jagger congratulated her (via pre-recorded messages) on her achievement.

“They told me that this was going to happen, but I didn’t know there was going to be all this!” an overwhelmed Swift exclaimed after accepting her award. “My parents are not just crying, they’re actually bawling!”

The Pinnacle Award, which hasn’t been presented since 2005 when the CMA gave it to Garth Brooks, was created to honor “an artist who has achieved both national and international prominence through concert performances and record sales at levels unique in country music,” according to the Association.

Since breaking onto the country music scene in 2006, Swift has managed to successfully cross over into the pop genre — and back again. Her second album, “Fearless,” became the best-selling album of 2009, while its follow-up, 2010’s “Speak Now,” sold over 1 million copies in its first week. In 2012, she released “Red,” which to date has sold over 6 million copies worldwide.

Dressed in an elegant wine-colored ball gown, Swift, who earlier in the evening performed her hit single “Red,” thanked the artists who allowed her to open for them earlier in her career, including George Strait, Keith Urban and CMA Awards co-host Brad Paisley.

“I sat on a speaker on the side of the stage and watched him every single night ‘cause he was funny, and I’ll never be that funny, and it makes me sad,” Swift said of Paisley.

“Thank you, I love you, you’ve made me feel so special right now,” an emotional Swift told the crowd.

Swift is going to have to make a lot of room on her already full mantle. In addition to the Pinnacle Award, she also took home the awards for music video of the year and music event of the year for “Highway Don’t Care,” a song she performed with Urban and Tim McGraw.

  • Slideshow Photos

    Image: Singer Blake Shelton and his wife, singer Miranda Lambert, arrive at the 47th Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, Tennessee

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    Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift and more of country music's biggest stars party in Nashville.

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    Singer George Strait accepts the award for entertainer of the year at the 47th Country Music Association Awards at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., on Nov. 6.
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    Singer Darius Rucker performs his hit song "Wagon Wheel" at end of the CMA Awards in Nashville on Nov. 6.
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    Singer Blake Shelton accepts the award for male vocalist of the year at the CMAs. It was his fourth time winning the award.
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    Miranda Lambert accepts the award for female vocalist of the year, also her fourth, at the CMA Awards on Nov. 6.
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    Kenny Rogers performs "Islands In The Stream" with Jennifer Nettles before he accepted the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement award at the CMAs.
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    Alan Jackson and George Strait perform "He Stopped Loving Her Today" as a tribute to the late George Jones at the CMAs on Nov. 6. Jones died on April 26.
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    Philip Sweet, Kimberly Schalpman, Karen Fairchild and Jimi West of Little Big Town accept the award for vocal group of the year.
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    Kellie Pickler and Sean "Diddy" Combs present the award for vocal group of the year at the CMAs.
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    In a break from hosting duties, Carrie Underwood performs a medley of her songs.
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    Blake Shelton accepts the award for album of the year for "Based on a True Story" with his producer Scott Hendricks.
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    Singer Sheryl Crow applauds while presenting the award for album of the year to Blake Shelton at the CMA Awards.
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    Taylor Swift, center, accepts the CMA Pinnacle Award from Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, George Straight, and Keith Urban at the CMAs.
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    Blake Shelton performs "Mine Would Be You" at the CMAs on Nov. 6.
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    Tim McGraw performs "Southern Girl" at the CMAs at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena.
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    Kimberly Perry, Neil Perry and Reid Perry of The Band Perry perform "Don't Let Me Be Lonely" at the CMAs.
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    Singer Eric Church performs "The Outsiders" at the CMAs.
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    Singer Kacey Musgraves accepts the award for new artist of the year at the 47th Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, Tenn., on Nov. 6.
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    Hunter Hayes, left, and Jason Mraz present the award for best new artist of the year to Kacey Musgraves at the CMA Awards.
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    Florida Georgia Line performs "Round Here" at the CMA Awards in Nashville.
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    Taylor Swift performs "Red" at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Nov. 6.
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    Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert perform "We Were Us" at the CMA Awards.
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    Little Big Town performs "Sober" at the CMA Awards on Nov. 6. The band was nominated for vocal group of the year.
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    Songwriter Jimmy Yeary, left, with songwriter Connie Harrigton and singer Lee Brice accept the song of the year award for "I Drive Your Truck" at the CMAs.
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    Hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood do their best Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus routine while introducing the next musical act at the CMA Awards.
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    Kacey Musgraves, nominated for six CMA Awards, performs "Follow Your Arrow" at the 47th Country Music Association Awards at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., on Nov. 6.
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    Brian Kelley, left, and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line accept the award for single of the year for "Cruise" at the CMA Awards. The pair also won the vocal duo of the year award.
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    Show hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood perform at the CMA Awards on Nov. 6.
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    Singer Jason Aldean performs "Night Train" at the 47th CMA Awards in Nashville.
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    Taylor Swift works the red carpet decked out in a red gown for the CMA Awards on Nov. 6. Swift's latest album is called "Red" and she's nominated six times.
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    Rascal Flatts members, from left, Joe Don Rooney, Gary LeVox, and Jay DeMarcus arrive at the CMA Awards in Nashville.
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    Host and nominee Carrie Underwood poses on the red carpet before the CMA Awards on Nov. 6.
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    Singer Jake Owen and wife Lacey Buchanan attend the 47th annual CMA Awards in Nashville.
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    Singer Jason Aldean in one of the entertainer of the year nominees at the CMA Awards.
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    Singer Miranda Lambert, a female vocalist of the year nominee, poses on the red carpet at the 47th CMA Awards.
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    The Band Perry, from left, Neil, Kimberly and Reid Perry arrive at the CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
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    Defending entertainer of the year Blake Shelton arrives at the CMA Awards in Nashville on Nov. 6.
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    Darius Rucker, whose song "Wagon Wheel" was up for single of the year, poses on the red carpet at the CMA Awards.
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    Jase Robertson, left, and Willie Robertson from the "Duck Dynasty" TV show pose on arrival at the CMA Awards on Nov. 6.
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    Singer Kellie Pickler arrives at the Bridgestone Arena for the CMA Awards on Nov. 6.
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    Singer Jennifer Nettles arrives at the CMA Awards.
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    Singers Tim McGraw and Faith Hill attend the 47th CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
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