Luke Bryan was crowned Entertainer of the Year during the 2021 ACM Awards, but the country star wasn't there in person to accept the honor, as he was in Los Angeles filming American Idol. Bryan was originally scheduled to perform during the ACMs but was unable to after receiving a COVID-19 diagnosis, which he ultimately cleared in time to return to Idol's live show on Sunday night.
"I'm in L.A., oh my God. Y'all got me. I'm amazingly surprised. What an honor," Bryan said during his virtual acceptance speech. "To the ACM, I'm so sorry I could not be there. I missed certainly being able to do my song. And all the winners tonight, congratulations. Oh my God. Y'all got me!" The 44-year-old then thanked his team, his wife Caroline and their sons Bo, 13, and Tate, 10 before giving a shoutout to ACM hosts Keith Urban and Mickey Guyton. "What a great night you guys have done," he told them.
"And to all my fans out there and country radio. We've missed touring, we've missed being on the road with everybody that makes me an entertainer," Bryan continued. "What a challenging year, but to all the fans and everybody, we'll be back out on the road doing what we love."
"What an amazing honor," he concluded. "I love you guys." This was the Georgia native's third time taking home the ACM for Entertainer of Year, having first earned the trophy in 2013 and again in 2015. In a virtual press room after the show, Bryan admitted that he was "totally surprised" to be presented with the win this year.
"You never take these things for granted," he said."You just don't, and obviously, I've won two ACM Entertainer of the Years, and there's been some years I thought I might've, should've won another one and I didn't. So I think you tell yourself, 'Well, maybe you're done winning them,' and then to win another one is... It's very special and it has been fortunate."
"I had an opportunity to potentially perform on the show and then I couldn't because of the COVID diagnosis," he added. "And so I'm a little removed from being able to be in the room. And I wish so bad I could have been in the room, but still, the emotions are there. My phone is literally on fire with people calling and congratulating, so what a special night."