Sunday, May 24, 2009 | 4:50 p.m.
Two of country music’s leading young ladies, Taylor Swift and Miranda Lambert, recently made stops in Las Vegas.
They first appeared as part of the all-star line-up of artists hand-picked to perform at the Academy of Country Music Awards’ Artist of the Decade special for George Strait. (The star-studded tribute was filmed last month at the GMG Grand and will finally be broadcast on CBS on Wednesday.)
Lambert returned to Las Vegas on April 25 when she opened the Joint for four-time Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year Kenny Chesney.
Swift, meanwhile, waited until Saturday night to mark her return to our fair city.
Yet when she took to the stage Saturday night, the talented singer-songwriter didn’t open for the crowd at Mandalay Bay; she sold it out.
While she counts fellow tween idols Kellie Pickler and Mylie Cyrus as her so-called besties, Swift said Lambert is a “big sister figure” for her.
“I’ve been a fan of hers since I was 15 when I got her record,” she said.
Things have changed since then: While Lambert has continued to enjoy considerable success, Swift became a country crossover sensation and has shot to superstardom.
Swift acknowledged how the tables have turned.
“I used to text her, like, every time I’d be listening to her album, and be like, ‘Oh my God, this song is so touching to me, oh my God, this song made me cry,’ and now this year, when ‘Fearless’ came out, she started texting me, ‘Oh my God, this song made me cry, this song moved me so much, I love this record’.”
After three years of opening for other artists, Swift is currently criss-crossing the country as a headliner for the first time.
While she and Lambert are two of country’s most feisty young stars, their contrasting performances made clear that they are, in fact, very different.
Swift’s show was incredibly theatrical, complete with costumed dancers and an elaborate set that transformed itself to suit each song.
The stage transformed from a high school setting (think a hallway lined with lockers and everyone in cheer squad and band uniform-style costumes) to a medieval castle complete with court dancing and a Rapunzel-looking Swift in a Renaissance-inspired gown.
Lambert, on the other hand, was not afforded the luxury of extravagant sets and did not to change outfits throughout her set as an opening act.
Through it all, however, Swift has a lot of love for Lambert.
“I love what she does, I love what she stands for, and I love that I’ve been able to call her a friend,” she said.
While acknowledging the similarities they share -– which include having opened for George Strait; being nominated for Grammy Awards; and winning ACM’s Album of the Year -- Swift acknowledges the two share their fair share of differences, as well.
“Like all the people that I’m closest with, there are so many differences in what we do,” she said. “And that’s kind of a fun thing.”
Here’s a closer look at two of country music’s young, similar-but-very-different starlets.
Released her debut self-titled album…
Lambert: In 2001 when she was 17-years-old. It failed to chart but her follow-up record, “Kerosene,” went Platinum.
Swift: In 2006, when she was 16-years-old. It has since been certified 3x Multi-Platinum.
First hit single was…
L: "Me and Charlie Talking."
S: “Tim McGraw.”
Has been awarded Academy of Country Music Awards for…
L: Top New Female Vocalist (2007) and Album of the Year (2008).
S: Top New Female Vocalist (2008), Album of the Year (2009) and Crystal Milestone Award (2009).
Has yet to win a Grammy Award, thanks to…
L: Carrie Underwood, who won both of te Best Female Country Vocal Performance Grammys Lambert was nominated for, for "Kerosene", in 2007 and for "Famous in a Small Town” in 2008.
S: Amy Winehouse, who walked away with the Best New Artist statue in 2008.
L: Fellow country singer Blake Shelton.
S: No one – publicly/officially, at least – though Joe Jonas is among the long list of heartbreakers in her rear view mirror. She wrote the single, "Forever & Always," about that break-up and has since complained that no one will date her out of fear that her less-than-glowing opinions might wind up in a post-break-up song (and at the top of the charts). Other results of Swift’s broken heart include “White Horse,” (about a boyfriend who cheated on her), “Hey Stephen,” “You’re Not Sorry,” “Picture to Burn” and “Teardrops on my Guitar,” –- the list goes on and on.
L: Vintage Chevy pick-up.
S: Gold Lexus.
L: Lindale, Texas.
S: Wyomissing, Pa.
While onstage, repeatedly professed her love for..
At her last show in Las Vegas, she wore…
L: Tight distressed blue jeans, an animal print tank top, and a hooded black leather vest.
S: Several dresses, all with varying degrees of silver sparkles.
Has a tattoo of…
L: Her logo, two winged handguns, on her forearm. She had it done while on her first tour, much to the anger of her father, who was accompanying her on the road and hardly approved at the time.
S: Nothing to date, though she was photographed displaying a black heart on her foot, which she had drawn with permanent marker. While this sparked widespread speculation, the heart was only as permanent as the delible ink.
While Swift previously said she would get a tattoo if she sold two million records – which she has, several times over – she has yet to make good on her so-called “crazy pact,” according to her publicist.
Will proudly tell you…
L: Exactly how many miles there is between her front door and the nearest liquor store across the (dry) county line. “The ride to the beer store's not nearly as fun as the ride from the beer store,” she observes.
S: No one wants to date her because if a guy breaks her heart, she’ll write a song about it – and name names.
Father worked as a…
L: Retired police officer and private investigator.
S: Stock broker.
You may or may not know…
L: She has her concealed weapon license.
S: She collects stationery.