Garth Brooks Pulling Out Of CMA Entertainer of the Year Nominations: “It’s Time For Someone Else To Hold That Award”

Garth Brooks has opted to remove himself from the pool of nominees for the Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year category.

“It’s time for someone else to hold that award and know what Entertainer feels like,” Brooks said during a virtual press conference on Wednesday, July 29. He clarified that he is also withdrawing from the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year category for future years.

Brooks said the decision came about after last year’s CMA awards, when Brooks took home his seventh CMA Entertainer of the Year award, in what was considered by some in the industry an upset win over strong fellow contenders including Carrie Underwood and Eric Church.

“There’s one tweet in there that really stuck in my head,” Brooks said. “It said, ‘Hey, man. This guy, why doesn’t he just step down (and leave) the entertainer for the next generation?’ 100% agree.”

Recalling last year’s CMA Awards, Brooks told reporters he had been expecting to give a standing ovation to Carrie Underwood. “It’s the female’s night…I think that was a big jolt of it. No matter what the start of it was, the result of millions of tweets, that one little tweet caught my eye. This might be Carrie’s year.”

Brooks said following last year’s win, he discussed with the CMA the possibility of introducing a CMA Entertainer of the Year Emeritus award.

“That was my idea…but the CMAs can’t just create a title and give it to someone and I totally get it. If I had my dream, that’s how it would be handled… This would have been done with in two or three months, and they exhausted every [avenue]. They couldn’t do it, so we are taking it upon ourselves. I would have loved to do this in January and February, and it was planned for CMA Fest, but that got wiped out by the pandemic as well. Nominations are coming out and I don’t want to get in the way of anybody.”

He also spoke of what the Entertainer of the Year honor means to him.

“When I think of it I think of Reba and Dolly Parton and George Strait. Strait is going to be the last guy to tell you he’s an entertainer, but when you go see him, you see 60 No. 1’s and he’s only going to get to play 40 of them. Chesney’s on there. You’re not going to find a harder-working guy than Chesney. The last thing I want to appear today is ungrateful. The CMA has listened, they’ve tried and the truth is they can’t separate an artist out and they have my respect.”

Though Brooks has asked the CMA to remove him from upcoming EOY categories, he is still hopeful for nods and wins in other categories.

“I’m extremely competitive,” he told reporters during the press conference. “Would I love to walk away with Video [of the Year] for ‘Dive Bar’ [featuring Blake Shelton]? Sure. Make no mistake, I’m very competitive and this means the world to me.”

He continued, “With all the love in the world, we are officially pulling ourselves out of Entertainer of the Year…We’ve been lucky enough to carry it home a number of times and I feel like it’s somebody else’s turn.”

The second round ballots will be sent to CMA members on Friday (July 31), while final round voting closes in October.

The Country Music Association released the following statement to MusicRow in response to Brooks’ press conference:

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 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.

This is a developing story….

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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