updated 04/04/2011 AT 6:00 AM ET
•originally published 04/04/2011 AT 6:30 AM ET
When Nashville’s finest take over Sin City for the Academy of Country Music Awards, it’s a good thing that what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.
The awards, which went to such country crooners as Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift, were only one highlight of Sunday night’s show. If you missed any of the cowboy hat-happy action, PEOPLE.com breaks down some of the show’s more memorable moments. Among them:
Blake Shelton Says the Funniest Things
Country stars must have been shaking in their boots when host Shelton started unleashing his humor on his peers. Shelton’s targets included Carrie Underwood, Swift, Miley Cyrus and LeAnn Rimes.
“Eric Church has a big hit this year with ‘Smoke a Little Smoke,’” Shelton, 34, told the audience. His punch line? “I heard it was about Miley Cyrus.”
His lighthearted quips broke the ground rule that Shelton’s co-host, Reba McEntire, 56, laid down from the get-go of the ceremony: “Blake and I have decided there will be no Charlie Sheen jokes and no Lindsay Lohan jokes and no jokes about celebrity scandals,” she said with a laugh, adding, “so goodnight, everybody.”
Entertainer of the Year
Swift lived up to the title she earned later in the show with a foot-tapping take on her song “Mean.” She started off singing on a porch backdrop, which was later traded for a skyline background to match the lyrics, “Someday I’ll be living in a big old city/And all you’re ever gonna be is mean.”
“For me, with the entertainer of the year award, I see the face of Shania [Twain] and Garth [Brooks] and my heroes,” she told PEOPLE after snagging the honor. “To be among them – it just means so much.”
Rob and Reese Go Country
You’ve seen Robert Pattinson rock fangs – but who knew Twilight’s British hunk had a little Southern twang? Joined by his Water for Elephants costar (and recent bride) Reese Witherspoon, Pattinson spilled the details about his drink of choice when they were filming in Tennessee.
“I like drinking a lot of moonshine,” he said.
The performance turned intimate when Tyler went in for a smooch at the cue of the lyrics. It was all in good, theatrical fun, though – the only thing these stars did with their mouths was sing.
Big Stars, Big Hearts
A group of young adults with developmental disabilities from the academy’s Lifting Lives music camp joined country star Darius Rucker onstage to perform a song straight from the heart – to the letter.
The song, titled “Music From the Heart,” brought the audience to their feet, including a teary-eyed Underwood and a visibly moved Swift.