Wearing a sparkly, slinky dress, the singer, 26, presented the entertainer of the year award (which she’s won twice before) to Garth Brooks. “Hi Nashville. It’s been almost 13 years since I came to Nashville with a dream to be a songwriter and recording artist and I learned so much about what it means to be an entertainer from the remarkable artists in this arena tonight,” she said on stage.
Swift first attended the awards show as a teen in 2007 and picked up the New Artist award shortly after she released her self-titled debut album.
“Bless her heart. She’s gonna make it some day,” Kimberly Schlapman joked to PEOPLE on the CMA Awards red carpet. Added Karen Fairchild: “She never pitches her songs. She brought us on the road last summer for the 1989 tour and we did ‘Pontoon’ together and we’ve just been keeping in touch. I guess she loved the song so much and thought of the harmonies and sent it to us.”
Swift later confirmed the news with an Instagram post. “Feeling honored that a band I’ve loved for so many years decided to record this song I wrote. Good luck at #cmaawards @littlebigtown !! Love you guys,” she captioned a photo of the band