To paraphrase the old TV series: Seven is enough. Thirty-year superstar Garth Brooks told reporters today that he will not run for re-election as Entertainer of the Year at this year’s Country Music Association Awards.
Brooks, who picked up CMA Awards’ top prize in 2019, said he doesn’t want to be nominated for it this year — or any other — and that it’s time for someone else to win the marquee prize. “We feel very lucky with seven,” the defending champ said during a virtual presser today.
The veteran singer-songwriter has three more CMA Entertainer of the Year trophies than anyone else — Kenny Chesney’s won four — and said he took some flak online after last year’s triumph from folks who said he should withdraw from future consideration. “It made winning entertainer of the year not that fun to tell you the truth,” he said today.
His 2019 win came after that ceremony was dominated by women and hosted by Carrie Underwood — who also was up for the top prize — Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire. The latter two are past winners of the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year Award, but 2005 American Idol winner Underwood is 0-for-2 in her nominations.
Despite his announcement today, Brooks still might be in the dance when nominations for the 2020 CMA Awards come out later this summer (second-ballot voting ends August 10). The Country Music Association said in a statement, “The long-standing CMA Awards rules do not allow individuals to remove themselves from the balloting process at any point.”
Along with last, Brooks won the top CMA honor in 2017, 2016, 1998, 1997, 1992 and 1991. He is the best-selling solo artist of all time in the U.S., with his 156 million units sold trailing only the Beatles’ 183 million, according to the RIAA.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, no firm date is set for the 54th Annual CMA Awards, but the ceremony usually takes place during November in Nashville.