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November 08, 2014

In this weekly feature, InStyle’s Fashion News Director Eric Wilson shares his favorite fashion moment of the week, and explains how it could shape styles to come. Look for it on What’s Right Now every Friday.

The Moment: Is it just me, or is it becoming harder these days to tell the difference between country and pop?

Taylor Swift’s new album, her coming of age story of a country star turned New York City slicker, was one thing. But lately, with all of these crossovers, I’m not even sure whether to root for Team Pharrell Williams or Team Blake Shelton on The Voice. Then on the Country Music Association Awards on Wednesday, there were performances by Ariana Grande and Meghan Trainor, and the blending of styles, it appears, applies to fashion as well.

RELATED: Go Behind the Scenes of Ariana Grande's First InStyle Cover

Frankly, the CMA Awards red carpet looked a lot more stylish (or at least more tasteful) than the one at MTV’s Video Music Awards. While country shed its anti-fashion image long ago, ever since a new generation of artists arrived with a taste for Manolos over Stetsons, it’s fair to say that they reached a new level this week.

Case in point, there was something of an unspoken runway face-off happening between Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood. Lambert (pictured above middle, in Gabriela Cadena), now the most decorated female artist in the history of the awards, appeared in five outfits during the event. Underwood (pictured above left, in Lorena Sarbu), as a cohost, wore 10, including her best, a crystal blue Christian Siriano dress made of cascading layers of flounce organza (pictured, below left).

 SIPA NYC/Getty Images

Who won? In my book, Lambert took the crown in pale pink Bibhu Mohapatra chiffon and Lorraine Schwartz swirl earrings (pictured, above right), having scored bonus points for having perfectly executed a dramatic hairstyle shift during the evening, going from elaborately retro curls to a modern pin-straight, off-center part. How’d she do that? Was there a Blow salon backstage?

RELATED: How Carrie Underwood Dressed Her Bump for the CMAs

Why It’s a Wow: We’re all a little bit country at InStyle, and thrilled to see some top fashion labels appearing at the CMA Awards (although, why no couture?). Nicole Kidman (pictured, top left) brought the usual star quotient in a terrific white lace Roberto Cavalli dress, slightly suggestive in its delicacy, but also classical with long sleeves. And there were plenty of bodies being bared: Lily Aldridge in Calvin Klein Collection, wearing a black va-va-voom number, with sheer sides, and Kellie Pickler in sparkling Johnathan Kayne, with sheer bits of, well, lots of things.

Learn More: See all 10 of Carrie Underwood’s CMA Awards outfits, or check out Ariana Grande’s glow-in-the-dark dress, or the entire 2014 CMA Awards red carpet.

PHOTOS: The Best Looks From the 2014 CMAs