NEW YORK – Faith Hill insists she's no Kanye West.
The country music superstar says she was just joking when cameras showed her screaming "WHAT?" in apparent anger when she lost the female vocalist of the year award to newcomer Carrie Underwood at the Country Music Association Awards on Monday night in Nashville.
"The idea that I would act disrespectful towards a fellow musician is unimaginable to me," Hill said in a statement. "For this to become a focus of attention given the talent gathered is utterly ridiculous. Carrie is a talented and deserving Female Vocalist of The Year."
Media outlets and blogs zeroed in on Hill's reaction after Underwood's name was announced at the ceremony. While other nominees — Sara Evans, Gretchen Wilson, Martina McBride — gave the typical gracious loser smile, Hill, who was standing backstage, turned to the camera and shouted "WHAT?"
Although her voice could not be heard, it was clear from her lips what she said. She looked visibly upset and then it looked as if she was storming off. The incident has been replayed endlessly on sites like YouTube.com.
However, Hill said it was all a joke, and her manager, Gary Borman, echoed that: "I've worked with Faith for many years now and the idea that she would ever insult or undermine another artist, let alone another human being's success is absolutely preposterous. Those who know her know that she's incapable of such actions," he said in a statement.
"She was being playful while the nominations were being read and playful after."
Underwood also didn't take it seriously, according to her publicist, Jessie Schmidt, who said that Hill spoke to Underwood after the show and that the two were fine.
Underwood, the 2005 "American Idol" champ, has become a triple platinum success since releasing her debut album late last year. Hill is a longtime darling of country music with crossover pop appeal.
This is the second time in less than a week that an awards show loss has resulted in an (apparent) on-camera freakout by a loser. Last week, Kanye West stormed the stage at the MTV Europe Music Awards and interrupted the speech of the winners, claiming his video deserved the honor.