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Thursday, September 23, 1999 Published at 11:17 GMT 12:17 UK


Shania steals the show

Singer Shania Twain - 1999's first lady of country music

Canadian-born Shania Twain was voted Entertainer of the Year at the US Country Music Association's 33rd annual awards show.

The 34-year-old pop-country crossover sensation from Timmins, Ontario, became the first woman to win the prestigious title award since 1986.

[ image: Shania's latest pop-country crossover success]
Shania's latest pop-country crossover success
Her 1995 album The Woman In Me sold 6.6m copies, while her latest - Come On Over- sold more than 13m copies.

Sometimes criticised for her pop music style, the singer said: "We change, we evolve, we grow in the music business. I was prepared not to win and this came as a surprise but I'm enjoying it.''

It was a good night for women with the Dixie Chicks trio winning Vocal Group of the Year for the second successive year, as well as Single of the Year with Wide Open Spaces, plus Music Video of the Year with the same song.

[ image: Country legend Dolly Parton performs with Vince Gill]
Country legend Dolly Parton performs with Vince Gill
Their new album Fly recently spent two weeks at No 1 on the US pop album charts, heading off the Backstreet Boys, Madonna and Ricky Martin.

The Female Vocalist of the Year honour went to Martina McBride. Her current hit single I Love You is from the Julia Roberts/Richard Gere movie Runaway Bride,

Dolly Parton was officially be remembered in country music history when she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame during the show, along with the late Conway Twitty and Johnny Bond.

[ image: Pop star Jewel on stage with 'old-timer' Merle Haggard]
Pop star Jewel on stage with 'old-timer' Merle Haggard
The televised show from Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House also attempted to attract younger fans by pairing veteran country band Alabama and pop group 'N Sync on stage, while "old-timer" Merle Haggard partnered pop star Jewel.

The votes for the night's winners came from the 6,000 members of the Country Music Association.

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