The Country Music Association acknowledged Church’s powerful contribution to the genre. The singer beat out several high-profile rivals including Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Luke Combs and Keith Urban. This was the first year Church took home the award despite being nominated several times in the past.
Combs, who was nominated for the award for the first time, was visibly excited when Church won the award. He held up his hand in celebration and yelled “Yeah” in response. Combs is both friends with Church and a huge admirer of his music. He viewed Church as one of the inspirations for his own career.
“I think our ability to come together is like, unlike any genre. I’m a huge advocate of us being excited for each other when we win,” Combs told Taste of Country. “Without him, there is no me. And so I think no one has ever deserved anything more than he deserved to win that trophy tonight. As much as I would have loved to win, I couldn’t have been more excited for him to.”
Combs said the two had been joking that one of them was going to win the award. In response to Church’s win, Combs said he planned a social distance celebration by drinking in the singer’s honor.
“We can’t exactly kick beers back and hug each other tonight. So I’m gonna be doing some of that with him in spirit,” Combs said. “I’m gonna have a little Jack on the bus ride home, and probably eat some Cookout with my wife, which would be the best way to celebrate, in my opinion.”
Maren Morris and Others Celebrate Eric Church’s Win
Combs wasn’t the only country star celebrating Church’s achievement. Maren Morris shared a hilarious moment where she stumbled upon Church as he exited the CMA Awards, trophy in hand.
“A funny CMA moment (excuse my profanity),” Morris wrote. “I was doing press when they announced EOTY so I didn’t know who won until I saw @ericchurch come to the press carpet with an award. I asked ‘Wait. Did you just win Entertainer?’ He said with a sly grin, ‘Yep.’ I said ‘F–king. Finally.’”
Additionally, several other country singers tipped their hats to Church’s achievement on Twitter. Both Travis Denning and Ryan Hurd wrote, “Bout D–n Time” in response to Church taking home the award. Jordan Rager also tweeted, writing, “Eric Church. That’s it. That’s the tweet.”
Even radio host Bobby Bones got in on the celebration.
ERIC CHURCH BOUT DAMN TIME— Travis Denning (@Travis_Denning) November 12, 2020
My thoughts from tonight just in case anyone cares (it’s ok if you don’t)— Ryan Hurd (@RyanHurd) November 12, 2020
1. Maren…just wow. Every part of tonight was special.
2. Eric Church: ‘bout damn time.
3. I have more but no one cares.
Eric Church. That’s it. That’s the tweet.— Jordan Rager (@Jordan_Rager) November 12, 2020