Garth Brooks made a surprising announcement on July 29 when he pulled his name from consideration for the prestigious Entertainer of the Year award at the 2020 CMA Awards. The country music legend made it clear that he didn’t want to be acknowledged in the category again, after his controversial win at the awards show last year was met with backlash.
Garth announced his decision during a virtual press conference where he admitted, per People, that taking home the big honor in November was actually “not that fun” because of the reaction he received. Notably, the star’s win was met with particular hostility from fans of his fellow nominee Carrie Underwood, who were vocal about their disappointment on social media.
Garth opened up about the major backlash during the video chat and shared that even he thought the mom of two was going to take home the honor.
“I’m expecting to give a standing ovation to Carrie. I mean, this is her night. And when they said my name, then I was like, I’m lost here because I don’t know what to say,” the “Friends In Low Places” singer recalled.
He also discussed one particular tweet he saw in the wake of his win which urged him to take his name out of the running for 2020, as he admitted that he agreed with the sentiment after having taken home the trophy six times before. He has now won the award in 1991, 1992, 1997, 1998, 2016, 2017, and 2019.
“It said, ‘Hey man, this guy, why doesn’t he step down and just [leave] the entertainer for the next generation?'” Garth said of the message.
Fans of the “Drinking Alone” singer and many famous faces threw their support behind Underwood after she had a stellar eligibility period, including a huge global tour. They also believed she was a shoo-in to be given the honor because the 2019 ceremony was designed to celebrate the women of country music, as the star and her co-hosts, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire, looked back at some of the most successful females to ever grace the genre.
Fans of Eric Church were also vocal about their disappointment over Garth winning after his own big year. Chris Stapleton and Keith Urban were also nominated.
While there’s no way Garth can actually stop CMA voters from putting his name on the ballot again, he continued to urge them not to vote for him and to let someone new be awarded the trophy.
“I’m very grateful,” he admitted, but told voters that “somebody else needs to hold that.”