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Naomi Judd Defends Taylor Swift

02/09/2010 at 04:25 PM EST

Naomi Judd Defends Taylor Swift
Naomi Judd and Taylor Swift
Kevin Mazur/WireImage; Anna Webber/WireImage
Don't let Naomi Judd catch you saying anything bad about Taylor Swift. The veteran country singer has jumped to Swift's defense after she was heavily criticized for her performance at the Grammy Awards last month.

In a letter to the editor of The Tennessean, Judd, calls Swift a "dazzling performer" and lauds her for single-handedly introducing "country music to a much-welcomed younger demographic."

She attributes Swift's less-than-perfect Grammy duet with Stevie Nicks to having an off night. "Having sung many times at the Grammys, I can tell you that the stress and anxiety of performing in front of the world's top artists in every genre of music is tortuous for even the most seasoned singer," Judd writes.

The backlash against Swift began immediately after her Grammy night performance, which the New York Times called "painfully out of tune."

Swift's label head, Scott Borchetta, rushed to her defense last week, calling her "the voice of a generation" and blaming a technical problem as the culprit behind the pitchy performance.

Judd also praises Swift's "smarts, manners and class" as qualities young people should admire and emulate.

"If there's an award for being the best role model for her generation," she writes, "I'd like to be the one to give it to Taylor Swift."

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