Did Garth Brooks Take Himself Out of 2020 CMA ‘Entertainer of the Year’ Running Because of a Fan Tweet?

by Chris Haney

Earlier this summer, country music superstar Garth Brooks took himself out of the running for this year’s “Entertainer of the Year” at the CMA Awards because of a fan’s comment on Twitter.

The “Friends in Low Places” singer shared his decision during a virtual press conference. He explained that the tweet made him reconsider his nomination for the prestigious award.

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

Additionally, Brooks said that it’s “time for somebody else to hold that award and know what Entertainer of the Year feels like.”

“With all the love in the world, we are officially pulling ourselves out of Entertainer of the Year,” the musician announced.

Brooks is one of the top-selling entertainers in the world – not just in country music. In addition, he had the highest-grossing country music tour in 2019. Yet, the musician is withdrawing his name from the “Entertainer of the Year” running indefinitely.

Brooks dominates the category along with many others during active years of recording and touring. The country artist first won the top CMA honor in 1991, and has won it seven times in total – more than any other performer ever. Most recently he won the award just last year, in 2019.

Thus, in a perfect world, Brooks would prefer for there to be an “Entertainer of the Year Emeritus” award. In fact, he shared the idea with CMA officials. But, the country icon realizes they “can’t just create a title and give it to somebody, because they want to treat everybody fairly.”  

“If I had my dream, that’s how we’d handle this situation right here,” Brooks said of his idea.

Brooks Decision Opens the Door for Other Country Artists

Brooks’s decision gives artists like Carrie Underwood and Eric Church a much better possibility to win the award for their first time.

Many artists have chimed in recently about the situation. Country star Miranda Lambert has been very vocal that she thought Underwood should have won the award last year.

“I think last year was bulls–t and that Carrie Underwood should have taken it,” Lambert told the LA Times. “I’m still a little bit grudge-y about it. Although I love Garth—he was my first concert when I was ten years old—there’s times and places for things. And I just felt like it was the wrong thing. But this year, I’m excited because I feel like it’s the way that it should be. And maybe that’s because he pulled out of it; I don’t know. But I think everyone in the category deserves to be there.”

Brooks himself commented on the backlash from around the country community after last year’s win. He says he left as shocked as anyone else that he won.

Subsequently, the musician read criticisms online that said he should step down from the award category. Although he is thankful for the award, he admitted it felt a bit tarnished last year.

“It made winning entertainer of the year not that fun to tell you the truth,” Brooks recalled rather somberly.

Brooks stepping away from the category opens the door for a new winner when the CMA Awards air on Wednesday, Nov. 11.