Garth Brooks Updates Stance on 2021 CMA Entertainer of the Year Contention After Withdrawing in 2020

by Jacklyn Krol

Garth Brooks shared his latest stance on the CMA Entertainer of the Year award.

After famously asking to not be nominated in the 2020 CMA category, he reiterated his thoughts.

“I don’t want to take a spot in that final five,” Brooks told The Boot. “The stand is still the same.”

Currently, the second round voting where the Country Music Association members select the final five nominees is taking place. Voters can write in whichever artist they believe is deserving of the award. This means that Brooks can’t exactly pull himself off of the competition. Despite this fact, voters respected his decision last year and did not put him through to the nominee phase. The second round of voting will close on August 12.

Brooks has won the coveted award a total of seven times in 1991, 1992, 1997, 1998, 2016, 2017 and 2019.

Firstly, back in 2019, the show was focused on women in country music. Many believed that Carrie Underwood would take home the top prize with her successful tour and theme of the show. Brooks also believed this.

“I’m expecting to give a standing ovation to Carrie,” he said at the time. “I mean, this is her night … And when they said my name, then I was like, I’m lost here because I don’t know what to say.”

“I’m very grateful for the time that I’ve got to go [win],” he said. “[But] somebody else needs to hold that.”

Garth Brooks’ Reflection

Garth Brooks revealed to Variety that he had conversations about the award. He asked the association if they could add an “emeritus” proclamation. They agreed to look into it and entertain his idea. They were set to unveil the news that he would be out of the running at CMA Fest but it was canceled for the first time in 2020 due to COVID-19. It wasn’t until after the pandemic took place and the festival got moved that things changed.

“And they came back and said, ‘Hey, look, as much as we’d love to help you on this, we can’t determine what artist is up for what award.’ And I totally get that. They tried really hard.”

CMA reiterated their stance and said that they could not force people to exclude him. Brooks and his team decided to hold a press conference to ask voting members to not vote for him.

“They just came back and said, ‘It’s not our call. We cannot pull you out of an award,’” he recalled. “So today we sit here and humbly ask, with all the gratefulness and love in the world, that we are going to do it ourselves. We’re going to pull ourselves out of entertainer of the year,” he explained.

Furthermore, a tweet that stuck in his head read, “Hey man, this guy, why doesn’t he step down and just have the entertainer be for the next generation?”

Brooks said that he “one hundred percent agreed” with that statement.

Finally, Garth Brooks clarified that he is grateful to the CMA and voters but he wants to stop. He noted that his lucky number was seven and this was the perfect finish for him. However, he doesn’t mind winning any other award that CMA may nominate him for.

“It’s time for somebody else to hold that award, know what (being) that entertainer (winner) feels like, because they’re all out there busting their butts,” he concluded.