When Garth Brooks' name was announced as the Entertainer of the Year at the recent CMA Awards, fans were shocked to hear his name called instead of the evening's host, Carrie Underwood. But perhaps no one was more surprised than Brooks, who also thought it might be Underwood's year to win the night's highest honor.
"It was the year of the women so we were all expecting Carrie anyway and she justly deserved it as well as the other nominees," Brooks admitted to Good Morning America. "We were sitting there talking [and] boom, your name gets called and you don't have anything prepared or nothing, so you pretty much just tell them what you thought of the show."
Brooks won the Entertainer of the Year award for the seventh time, but it still feels as sweet to him as the first time.
"Being the Entertainer of the Year is always a wonderful thought," Brooks told PopCulture.com and other media backstage after his big win. "I'm also trying to remember whose name has been honored for the last 365 days: Keith Urban. Keith Urban's name is on an award, it's the one you want. It's one that's cool. And then my favorite thing about this one – seven is going to be my favorite one because it is a separate one, but because it was on a historic night where country music saluted with and being married to one of the greatest female singers that ever walked this planet, no matter what music genre it is.
"And then being the father of three daughters, I like the message tonight, that the future is infinite and I loved, I loved the game," he added. "I loved the songwriter that said two favorite things are to love and to dream. I want to take that with me and preach that."
While some fans, including Runaway June, spoke out after Brooks failed to mention Underwood's name during his acceptance speech, the Country Music Hall of Fame member clarified that he addressed her before taking the trophy, and explained why he used his time on stage to honor rising stars like Kelsea Ballerini and Luke Combs instead.
"Miss Carrie was backstage, but she came up at the very end," said Brooks. "So as far as getting to be with the nominees, that was beautiful as an entertainer I just wanted to share that what Reba McEntire did tonight, that's an entertainer, and we all felt it, we all saw it. And then I got to say it wasn't just picking on the women. What Kelsea Ballerini did with just a guitar in an arena and shrink that thing down on national TV? That's a fricking entertainer right there.
"So I just wanted to make sure that they knew," he added. "And then when you watch Luke Combs, he's a natural and then he's going to have eight of these. It's good because country music, the future's in great hands."
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