Taylor Swift kicked off 2010 with a No. 2 single debut (“Today Was a Fairytale”), a hit movie (Valentine’s Day), and four Grammy wins, including Album of the Year. She then spent months headlining arena concerts and big-ticket awards shows. But there was one achievement — the Oct. 25 release of her third record, Speak Now — that topped everything. Buoyed by strong reviews and the radio-friendly hit “Mine,” Speak amassed a jaw-dropping 1,047,000 units in first-week sales, the highest tally for any release in five years. For all that, the confidently sweet 20-year-old who was only 2 months old when Entertainment Weekly launched in 1990 is now our youngest-ever Entertainer of the Year.

In our interview, Swift talks about all the speculation surrounding the subjects of the songs on Speak Now, understood to include ex-boyfriends Taylor Lautner, Joe Jonas, and John Mayer. “Sometimes I would laugh because I would see it in print and it would say, ‘This song, which is written about her ex, so-and-so…’ And they would write about it as if it was fact. The fact is, I haven’t ever confirmed that any song is about any particular person. There’s something kind of freeing about that. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all still up in the air.” She also explains how she decided to perform her song “Innocent,” which sure seems to be about Kanye West, at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. “I had decided that I didn’t want to perform on the show. Or even go. Then I woke up in the middle of the night and I realized that I had to, and that I wanted to perform that song.”

For more with Taylor Swift and our 14 other entertainers of the year — including James Franco, Jon Hamm, and Katy Perry — pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday, December 3.