updated 04/17/2010 AT 1:00 PM ET
•originally published 04/18/2010 AT 6:00 AM ET
“My expectations are not to fall, stay on pitch and not cry during my song,” Lambert, 26, told PEOPLE during her rehearsals Friday at the Las Vegas MGM Grand, from where the 45th annual ACM Awards will be taped live and broadcast on CBS at 8pm ET/delayed PT. “I’d like to take one [award] home, though.”
Among the awards for which she’s nominated are Top Female Vocalist and Album of the Year, for Revolution. “It’s been a huge year for us,” she said.
Lady Antebellum Leads
To say it’s been a huge year for Lady Antebellum may be an understatement. Leading the ACM nominations with seven, the trio is up for Album of the Year and Top Vocal Group. Their song “Need You Now” has become a crossover smash, having already hit the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Country chart and currently sitting at No. 6 on the Hot 100 Billboard chart, which measures song popularity regardless of music genre.
“I think sometimes songs aren’t genre-specific,” says the group’s singer (and fairly recent new groom), Charles Kelley, 28. “That song, out of anything we’d ever written, definitely felt like that.”
Partly because of “Need You Now,” the past year has been a whirlwind, Kelley said. “We’re trying to enjoy it and realize that it will probably never be this fun, because it’s all so brand new.”
The success, though, hasn’t gotten to them, says singer Hillary Scott, 26: “Really, we’re just completely normal people with a really weird job. We’re regular, nerdy people.”
As for how they feel going into Sunday night’s show as the leader in nominations, they’re feeling no pressure.
“I don’t know what it is,” Kelley says. “We’re so much less nervous this year. There’s something about the vibe of this that gets us more and more excited.”