Eric Church is officially the CMA Entertainer of the Year. Church has released several singles over recent months in advance of tonights CMA Awards.
Of course, Church accepted the awards in his signature Ray-Ban Aviators. The title of his most recent single, “Through My Ray-Bans,” pays homage to his shades.
Church delivered a powerful speech after taking home the top award of the night. He said that the award in 2020 highlighted loss, “loss of life, loss of playing shows, loss of freedom.” However, Church said that the win is that they were still able to hold the CMA Awards show “in person, live, not on zoom.”
“It’s going to be music that brings us out of this,” Church said regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. “That [music] is the one thing that is going to save the entire world.”
This year’s Entertainer of the Year category saw stiff competition between some of country music’s hottest stars. The 2020 nominees included Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Eric Church, and Keith Urban.
CMA Awards 2020: Entertainer of the Year Nominees
Once again, Eric Church found himself up for the award. However, this year marks his first victory in the category. He received his first CMA entertainer of the Year nod in 2015. He went on to receive nominations in 2017 and 2019.
Most notably, this year’s competition marks the second time two female acts competed for the most-coveted award since 2000. Country icons Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert both were up for the award. Two decades ago, Faith Hill and The Chicks both received nominations.
As for Combs, this year’s awards show marks his first nomination for Entertainer of the Year. However, he leads the pack with six CMA Awards. Prior to the show, he explained how honored he felt to receive the nomination. “Another crazy twist on a pretty crazy year for everybody, and so I’m stoked you know,” Combs told WKRN.
The “One Too Many” singer continued by adding: “I kind of feel like the new kid a little bit, you know what I mean. Like, I feel like the young guy that doesn’t know what he’s in for yet as far as that category goes. And to be in there with four people that you admire as musicians and what they do for country music is an honor.”
Keith Urban was also on the Entertainer of the Year ballot. He’s been a mainstay in the category for years. In 2005 and 2019, the “Blue Ain’t Your Color” singer took home the trophy.
Many country fans may notice that country legend Garth Brooks was not nominated in 2020. For this year’s ceremony, the “Friends in Low Places” singer opted to remove his name from contention.
“We feel very lucky with seven, and it’s time for somebody else to hold that award and know what Entertainer of the Year feels like,” Brooks said earlier this year, WKRN reports.