Gwyneth PaltrowWhen Gwyneth Paltrow decided to debut the title song from her upcoming film 'Country Strong,' her first-ever live musical performance, she could have slipped unnoticed into some small Nashville bar and worked out the track surreptitiously. Instead, she chose to close last week's Country Music Awards, the biggest platform in the genre, and duet with veteran Vince Gill.

It was an audacious move, but one that paid off. Ken Tucker, managing editor for Country Weekly, was in the crowd during her performance. "As soon as she finished, the standing ovation started from the front where all the artists, producers and industry people are seated," said Tucker. "It's one thing to do something that you can do multiple takes on like acting or recording in a studio, but this was in front of a sold out arena with millions of people watching from home and the first 10 rows filled with country's biggest stars, and she pulled it off. She was right up there with the other singers."