Garth Brooks doesn’t want to be in the running for the Entertainer of the Year trophy at the 2020 CMA Awards.

The country superstar shared the news during a press conference Wednesday, explaining that he asked the Country Music Association not to include him as a contender this year for their highest award. According to Garth, the CMA responded by saying it isn’t technically possible for him to remove himself from consideration.  So he’s decided to state his viewpoint publicly as the nomination process begins.

Garth is the CMA’s reigning Entertainer of the Year. His win at the 2019 awards show came as a curveball for many viewers, who were hoping that Carrie Underwood would win the title at the close of a show that was centered on spotlighting female artists.

That night, Garth used his acceptance speech to draw attention to rising artists, both male and female. He highlighted co-host Reba McEntire’s showmanship, applauded Kelsea Ballerini’s vulnerable performance of her single “Homecoming Queen?”, predicted an Entertainer of the Year trophy in Luke Combs’ near future, and credited his wife, fellow country star Trisha Yearwood.

But some viewers critiqued Garth’s win both as a legacy problem — Garth has won the CMA Awards’ biggest trophy seven times — and as a symbol of the obstacles female artists face in the industry. No woman has won the Entertainer of the Year trophy since 2011, when Taylor Swift took home the honor.

By Carena Liptak
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