On Wednesday night, Nashville, TN welcomed the 2020 CMA Awards to town. During its biggest award of the night, you’d think country star Luke Combs’ hilarious celebration was for himself, but instead, it was for fellow North Carolinian Eric Church who took home “Entertainer of the Year.”
Combs earned his first CMA “Entertainer of the Year” nomination this year. However, the musician couldn’t contain his excitement for Church’s first career win in the category. In fact, as country legend Reba MeEntire announced Church’s name, Combs jumped out of his seat pumping his fist in joy.
The two country stars sat at the same table during the awards show as the cameras captured Combs’ celebration. In addition to Combs’ fist pumps, cameras caught Combs yelling “Yeah!” as he pointed at Church while he took the stage.
Previously, Church has been nominated three other times for the big award. Yet, last night’s win was his first.
The two North Carolina natives collaborated on Combs’ song “Does to Me,” a single from Combs’ sophomore album, What You See Is What You Get. Additionally, Combs’ sophomore album won CMA’s “Album of the Year.”
Combs Shares Numerous Connections with Church
The two country stars have further connections. The two musicians both attended Appalachian State University a few years apart from one another. While a student, Combs also saw Church play a show at App State that he says motivated him to begin a career in music.
“When I decided to pick the guitar up, I just said, ‘You know what, if this guy went to college here, and he can be onstage at the CMAs, winning CMA Awards and getting No. 1 songs, I don’t see why I can’t do it.’ He really inspired me to have a tunnel vision-like approach to what I want to do,” Combs said after winning the 2018 CMA for “New Artist of the Year”. “I’m very lucky to have run into his music, because I really don’t think I would be here without it.”
Likewise, Church shared some similar thoughts from his acceptance speech while backstage after his win. He spoke about how tough of a year 2020 has been. Church says the year is more about losses than it is wins.
“It’s been a year, to me, of losses. It’s been a year of managing those losses,” Church reiterated. “So it was really hard for me to accept this award, which I have wanted forever … The hardest thing was to stand there in 2020 and understand that you win that award, but this year is more about what the losses are.”
[H/T Taste of Country]