As expected, the 2010 Country Music Awards was another celebration of the X chromosome. Wednesday night's telecast, broadcast from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, showcased the talents of country's leading women -- including a tribute to Loretta Lynn -- and chart-topping bands co-led by women, including Sugarland and Lady Antebellum.
It was Miranda Lambert's year. The former "Nashville Star" competitor was nominated nine times and won for best album ("Revolution," released more than a year ago) and best female vocalist, among others. Bonus: Wednesday was her 27th birthday.
The gents had their glories, too, including more trophies for the Zac Brown Band (best new artist) and the night's top award, entertainer of the year, to Brad Paisley.
A complete list of nominees and winners is here.
Plus, our red carpet gallery.
The most anticipated performance of the night was a newcomer to country music: actress Gwyneth Paltrow. Singing the title song from the movie "Country Strong" -- coming Jan. 7, in which she plays an alcoholic country singer -- Paltrow was tentative and still at the microphone but sang strong and clear. Supported vocally and on guitar by Vince Gill, Paltrow slowly warmed to the performance and was rewarded with a standing ovation -- plus a great moment when the TV camera showed Lambert in the front row, clapping gamely with an expression on her face that clearly read, "Huh, not bad."
Paltrow was certainly better than some other female performers Wednesday night at both ends of the generational scale. Country veteran Reba McEntire performed an odd choice of song, "If I Were a Boy," sounding unusually anxious and below her best. Before that, young phenom Taylor Swift sat a piano for "Back to December," from her already million-sold third album "Speak Now" -- a beautiful ballad spoiled by her fourth atrocious TV performance this calendar year. Every soft note wavered, every verse dragged just under pitch. Good songwriter, bad performer, but they keep putting her on TV.