Garth Brooks Pulls Name From Consideration for CMA Entertainer of the Year Award

“It’s time for somebody else to hold that award,” seven-time winner says of country music’s top prize

Garth Brooks has won the CMA Award for Entertainer of the Year too many times and is ready to hand the honor off to another bright young star, telling press Wednesday that he’d like to be removed from consideration for the prize.

Brooks, who won the award from the Country Music Association in 2019 over names like Carrie Underwood and Eric Church who have never won, said in a Zoom press conference that he changed his mind after seeing a tweet asking why he doesn’t step aside.

“It said, ‘Hey, man. This guy, why doesn’t he just step down (and leave) the entertainer for the next generation?’ 100% agree,” he told press (via The Tennessean). “It’s time for somebody else to hold that award.”

He continued: “With all the love in the world, we are officially pulling ourselves out of ‘Entertainer of the Year.'”

Including last year’s victory, Brooks has won Entertainer of the Year seven times, including in 1991, 1992, 1997, 1998, 2016 and 2017. He said on the call that he proposed to the CMAs an Entertainer of the Year Emeritus prize, but whether he’s nominated for the award again this year may not be entirely up to him.

Voting for the CMA Awards began last month, and the second round of ballots will go out to members this Friday. The CMAs explained in a statement to TheWrap that the rules don’t allow for individuals to remove themselves from the balloting process, and if his name is already on the ballot, it’s up to voters to decide.

“If voters have nominated Garth Brooks in the first round, his name will appear on the second ballot. It will then be up to voters in this second round to select their top finalists,” the statement read in part.

The 2020 CMA Awards nominees will be announced in the coming weeks with five nominees in each category, and the final round of voting will take place in October ahead of the 54th Annual CMA Awards airing on ABC in November.

Brooks had to cancel his 2020 tour dates along with the rest of the music industry due to COVID-19, but he has a network special and a drive-in concert event planned for 2020, and he expects to wrap up his tour dates that were planned for this year by 2022.