Taylor finally puts West farce behind her to sweep awards

If anybody thought differently before, it is clear by now that in the world of country, rock and pop, 2009 has turned out to be year of Taylor Swift, the 19-year-old country crossover star, who captured five gongs at the annual American Music Awards in Los Angeles.

The singer snagged Artist of the Year, one of the industry's most coveted awards, which many had expected to go to Michael Jackson. Although he was denied a clean sweep, Jackson, who died earlier this year at the age of 50, made history with four posthumous awards, including favourite male pop-rock and soul-R&B artist.

Accepting her awards on Sunday night Swift noted that "to even be mentioned in a category with Michael Jackson, who we will miss and love forever, is an unimaginable honour". Although Swift has no shortage of fans – her country album Fearless has been the best-selling release in the United States this year – she rose to even greater prominence after the Video Music Awards this year when she found herself ambushed on stage by Kanye West who, grabbing the microphone from her, protested her best-video prize should have gone to another performer, Beyoncé.

After moving with her family to Nashville, the cradle of the American country scene, when she was 14, Swift began her gradual ascent to the pinnacle of the profession.

Her first single, 'Tim McGraw' released in 2006 reached number six on the Billboard charts in America.

Her transition from country singer to all-out mainstream star, propelled in part by the West incident, seems to have been completed earlier this month when she guest-hosted the comedy review show, Saturday Night Live on NBC.

For her opening monologue, she offered a song chastising both West and a former boyfriend, Joe Jonas, who broke up with her this year with a phone call that only lasted 27 seconds.

The song went: "You might think I'd bring up Joe, that guy who broke up with me on the phone/ Hey, Joe, I'm doing real well, tonight I'm hosting 'SNL'."