CMA Awards 2020: Luke Combs Speaks out on Garth Brooks’ Entertainer of the Year Absence

by Jennifer Shea

Country music star Luke Combs received multiple CMA Awards nominations this year, including Entertainer of the Year. But he says he will always wonder if Garth Brooks should have won that award.

Combs is speaking out about Brooks’ absence from the list of nominations this year, The Country Daily reports. In a recent interview, he said now he’ll never know if he could beat the best in that category.

Combs Will Never Know If He Beat Brooks

Last year, Brooks set a record by winning his seventh CMA Entertainer of the Year Award. But he got some complaints from fans who felt Carrie Underwood should have received the award instead of him.

“It made winning CMA Entertainer of the Year not that much fun,” Brooks said, according to The Country Daily.

So this year, Brooks decided that he would retract his name from consideration for future CMA Entertainer of the Year Awards. And sure enough, when CMA announced the nominees for 2020, Brooks was not among them.

The nominees this year include Combs, Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban. 

“I understand [Brooks’] move for sure,” Combs told “Nights With Elaina” recently. “But then I also think to myself, when you’re in that conversation [for Entertainer of the Year], I have this competitive nature, I don’t just want to be the best, I want to beat the best, too. So I don’t want to sit at home and go, ‘Well, maybe it was me, but maybe it was somebody else.’”

Missing the Road

Combs told ABC 7 that his six total CMA Award nominations don’t exactly make up for not being able to perform live concerts.

“You know, on one hand you’re really excited for the noms,” he said. “But to have that be juxtaposed with not being able to be on the road, not get to make music, and see the fans, you know, give a little kid my hat, throw out a guitar pick, I really miss those things.” 

The CMA Awards will air from Music City Center in Nashville on Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. ET.