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Faith, sour and sweet

Los Angeles, Nov. 8 (Reuters): Recording star Faith Hill insisted yesterday she was just clowning around backstage at the Country Music Association Awards when cameras caught her apparently reacting with angry disbelief as rival Carrie Underwood was named female vocalist of the year.

In a live TV moment replayed repeatedly on the Internet the day after Monday’s awards, Hill is seen throwing her arms up in mistaken triumph as Underwood’s name is read, then shouting: “What!'” directly into the camera as her smile turns to a look of shock.

The three other nominees shown on split screen — Sara Evans, Gretchen Wilson and Martina McBride — were all seen graciously applauding when Underwood, formerly of American Idol fame, was announced as the winner.

Hill’s manager and publicist issued statements yesterday saying that what TV audiences saw on Monday night was a product of playfulness in the company of friends backstage, not sour grapes.

“She was just messing around,” spokesman Paul Freundlich said. “She didn’t realise the camera was rolling the whole time ... She just thought they were doing a shot when they read the nominees off.”

In a statement of her own, Hill said: “The idea that I would act disrespectful towards a fellow musician is unimaginable to me ... Carrie is a talented and deserving female vocalist of the year.”

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