In an unprecedented move, the Academy of Country Music awarded two Entertainers of the Year during Wednesday night's ACM Awards, with both Carrie Underwood and Thomas Rhett taking home the coveted prize in the first-ever tie in the category. Rhett's name was announced first before Underwood was announced as an additional winner.
"Oh my goodness gracious. Keith, what is happening right now?" Rhett told host Keith Urban, who seemed just as surprised as he did. "Thank you to the Lord Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Thank you so much, my wife, my baby girls who are watching this right now, Willa Gray, I love you. Ada James, I love you. Lennon, I love you. To my management, to my record label, to my publishers, to LiveNation and everyone has made this possible — my band and crew, who have put in countless hours just making our show what it is. Thank you to the fans."
When Underwood arrived on stage at the Grand Ole Opry, she joked, "2020, man!" followed by a message of gratitude. "Thank you, God, so much. All Glory, glory to God," she continued. "And thank you to the ACMs, not just for this, but for putting me in such incredible company. I am more than happy to share this with Thomas Rhett and just to have my name mentioned with his and Luke and Luke and Eric Church. I am beyond honored. Thank you, fans, for coming out to see us, spending your hard-earned money. [The] band, crew and everybody that makes those shows happen. You guys, hold on, it will happen again. Just hold on."
The Academy of Country Music is made up of thousands of voting members who all have a say in who wins, who it seems incredibly unlikely that there could ever be an exact tie. However, the ACM's website does state that ties are possible and should one occur, both winners will be awarded. The 2020 ACM Awards were originally scheduled for April before being moved due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the original winners, who had already been selected, remained the same as they would have been in April. The eligibility period for this year's show was Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2019, and was not postponed.
With her win, Underwood became the first woman ever to win three ACM Entertainer of the Year Awards, having previously taken home the trophy in 2009 and 2010. Taylor Swift is just behind her with two wins, and Underwood and Swift are the only two women to have won the category more than once. This was Rhett's first Entertainer of the Year win and his first year being nominated.
Both Underwood and Rhett performed multiple times during the show, opening the night with their fellow EOTY nominees Luke Bryan, Eric Church and Luke Combs, each of whom performed a medley of their greatest hits. Rhett later performed his duet with Jon Pardi, "Beer Can't Fix," and Underwood celebrated the 95th anniversary of the Grand Ole Opry with a medley honoring trailblazing female Opry members including Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire and Martina McBride.