Garth Brooks is well known in both country music and the music industry as a whole, and his popularity is reflected in the fact that he has won the Country Music Association’s entertainer of the year award seven times over three decades.
Brooks won in 1991, 1992, 1997, 1998, 2016, 2017 and 2019. It was last year’s win that was controversial, though, and had him reconsidering his participation.
Last year, many people expected Carrie Underwood to win — and when she didn’t, Brooks heard about it.
“It made winning entertainer of the year not as fun,” he said, according to Billboard.
The tweet that made him reconsider said something along the lines of, “Why doesn’t he step down and have entertainer of the year be for the next generation.”
“I 100 percent agreed,” Brooks explained. “So with all the love in the world and all the gratefulness because the last thing I want to do is seem ungrateful to the CMAs and everyone who’s voted for us, we’re officially pulling ourselves out of entertainer of the year.”
Brooks confirmed his withdrawal from consideration during a video conference on Wednesday morning.
However, the CMA said it does not remove nominees.
“The nominees and winners of the CMA Awards are selected by the vote of eligible members of the Country Music Association and not by CMA,” the organization said in a statement. “The long-standing CMA Awards rules do not allow individuals to remove themselves from the balloting process at any point.”
“The 2020 CMA Awards second ballot will be emailed to eligible voting members this Friday, July 31. If voters have nominated Garth Brooks in the first round, his name will appear on the second ballot.
“It will then be up to voters in this second round to select their top finalists. The final 2020 CMA Awards nominees, which will consist of five nominees in each category, will be announced in the coming weeks, with a final round of voting taking place in October.
“We look forward to seeing who our members vote for when The 54th Annual CMA Awards air on ABC in November.”
Fans and friends of the country music superstar were surprised, and fellow country music artist Blake Shelton tweeted: “I don’t give a s— what anyone says. ANYONE. Entertainer of the century.”
While Brooks hopes people won’t vote for him in that particular category, he said he had to make it right by at least announcing he didn’t want to compete for the award.
“You can’t sleep at night if you don’t make it right in your own head,” he said.
Brooks also acknowledged his competitive streak, and mentioned that he’s still participating in other categories, including best video.
But he no longer wants the title of CMA entertainer of the year — not this year, and not in any coming year.
“Good luck on whoever they pick this year,” Brooks said. “It’s going to be a tough one, and whoever gets it will be well deserving.”
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