Wednesday's Peoples Choice Awards kicked off the 2011 awards season in high gear, and the fan-voted ceremony brought plenty of surprises.

In the Favorite Country Artist category, Taylor Swift beat out fellow nominees Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts and Lady Antebellum. The man who handed her the award, Sir Elton John, is a huge fan of the genre. "When I was a young lad growing up in England, the upbeat twang of the guitar and the honky tonk banging of the piano rang loud and clear all the way across the world," he stated from stage. "Today, those lovelorn melodies and rebellious songsters still ring loud and clear, proving you don't need a pick up truck or even an old pair of boots to love country music ... You just have to hear it to love it."

Taylor is clearly a fan of the 63-year old rock icon, as well. "I am so honored to get an award from you," Taylor gushed, before turning to the audience. "To the fans, this award coming from you is such a showing of love. I want to thank you so much for being people that I count on. I just appreciate this love so much because I love you too. Thank you for everything."

Taylor was also nominated in the Favorite Female Artist category, along with fellow country star Carrie Underwood, as well as Pink, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, with the award going to Katy. In the Favorite Male Artist category, Tim McGraw joined Eminem, Enrique Iglesias, Michael Bublé and Usher, with Eminem walking away with the trophy.

Carrie was the only country artist nominated in a non-music category. The upcoming Grammy nominee was nominated for Favorite TV Guest Star for her appearance on the CBS's hit TV show, 'How I Met Your Mother.' Demi Lovato won the award for her role on ABC's 'Grey's Anatomy.'

Other big winners of the night include Neil Patrick Harris for Favorite TV Comedy Actor for his role on 'How I Met Your Mother,' 'Twilight' star Kristen Stewart for Favorite Movie Actress, Johnny Depp for Favorite Movie Actor, Conan O'Brien for Favorite Talk Show Host, Paramore for Favorite Rock Band and Rihanna for Favorite Pop Artist.

The next awards show for the country artists will be the Grammy Awards, which will include a host of country stars vying for the coveted trophy, including Miranda Lambert, Jewel, Jamey Johnson, Dierks Bentley, the Zac Brown Band and LeAnn Rimes. The Grammy Awards will air live from Los Angeles on February 13, 2011 at 8:00 PM ET.

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