"I am jumping up and down surrounded by dogs and my mom and screaming like it's Christmas morning. I'll never forget this," Taylor Tweeted soon after the news of her nominations – for Music Video, Album of the Year, Female Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year.
Swift's camp got the news an hour earlier than the singer because of a tape delay between East Coast and Central Time, but were under orders to keep mum so Swift could be surprised by the broadcasts on ABC's Good Morning America and later on CMT's Insider. The star filmed herself watching the broadcast with her mom and posted it on her Celebrity MySpace page.
When her name was announced for Entertainer of the Year, Swift slapped the bed, collapsed in joy and gave her mom a giant hug. The video shows her calling her dad on the phone to tell him the news, whispering to her mom, "He's about to cry! My stomach hurts so bad. This is one of the best days ever! I know, I say that too much.'
Swift, who won the CMA's Horizon Award for new artist in 2007, is the only female nominated in the Entertainer of the Year category and will battle it out with Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney and George Strait. The last solo woman to be nominated for the honor was Faith Hill in 2000 – when Swift was only 10.
Darius Rucker 's Muppet MomentDarius Rucker's first thought when he heard his name alongside those of Paisley, Chesney, Urban and Strait as a nominee for Male Vocalist of the Year: "Isn't this a Sesame Street skit? You know, 'One of these things doesn't belong?' "
Rucker, who read the nominations with Lee Ann Womack on GMA, is only the third male artist, along with Paisley and Garth Brooks, to be nominated in both the New Artist and Male Vocalist categories in the same year. "That's crazy company," he tells PEOPLE.
Rucker, who picked up two Grammys as frontman for Hootie and the Blowfish in 1996, says the recognition as a country star is as sweet as his success in the pop world.
"It's been so long!" he jokes of the dry spell between music awards. "The big difference is that there wasn't anything expected from this country thing. I did the record for myself and I made the record I love."