The CMA voters have spoken, and Luke Combs has officially been awarded country music’s highest honor: CMA Entertainer of the Year.
This is Combs’ first time receiving the CMA Entertainer of the Year trophy, and he seemed to be astonished as he made his way to the stage to accept the trophy from three-time CMA Entertainer of the Year Alan Jackson.
After hugging and kissing his wife, Nicole Hocking, the North Carolina native and Grand Ole Opry member took the stage at the conclusion of “Country Music’s Biggest Night” to accept the highly coveted honor.
“I’m really kind of at a loss for words,” Combs said as he held his Entertainer Of The Year trophy.
“Alan Jackson said my name… TWICE just now. But, I honestly don’t know what to say. I have never written a speech for something like this, which is not serving me very well right now,” Combs confessed.
He continued, “I just want to thank everybody in this room… The fans, every artist in this room. Every single person that was nominated for this award this year and every year before deserves to win this. I don’t deserve to win it, but I’m sure as hell glad that I did.”
He went to thank his team, family and fans before exiting the stage.
Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton and Carrie Underwood were also nominated in the category.
According to official documents from the Country Music Association, the Entertainer of the Year trophy is awarded to the artist and is based on “the act displaying the greatest competence in all aspects of the entertainment field.” The CMA suggests that voters “should give consideration not only to recorded performance, but also to the in-person performance, public acceptance, leadership, and overall contribution to country music. The nomination period for the 2021 show is July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.
— CMA Country Music (@CountryMusic) November 11, 2021
The 55th Annual CMA Awards featured performances from Luke Combs, Jimmie Allen, Gabby Barrett, Brothers Osborne, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Dan + Shay, Jennifer Hudson, Miranda Lambert, Old Dominion, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton, Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban, and Zac Brown Band.
Additionally, the show included star-studded collaborations by Chris Young and Kane Brown, Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde, Mickey Guyton, Brittney Spencer and Madeline Edwards, Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, BRELAND and HARDY.
Country singers Trace Adkins, Ingrid Andress, Kelsea Ballerini, Deana Carter, Russell Dickerson, Florida Georgia Line, Alan Jackson, Lady A, Scotty McCreery, Darius Rucker, Lainey Wilson, and Trisha Yearwood were on hand to present during the ceremony.
Lauren Daigle, Faith Fennidy, Freddie Freeman, Amy Grant, Dulé Hill, Elle King, Zachary Levi, Hayley Orrantia, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, Susan Sarandon, Saycon Sengbloh and Kurt Warner also made special appearances throughout the broadcast.
Hosted by Luke Bryan, the 2021 CMA Awards broadcasted live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 8/7c on ABC.