Luke Combs Says Garth’s Absence From CMA Entertainer of the Year Category Will Keep Him Wondering

As professional wrestler Ric Flair once so eloquently stated, “To be the man, you’ve gotta beat the man.”

It sounds like Luke Combs subscribes to Flair’s philosophy, although he will have to best two men and two women to take home this year’s CMA Entertainer of the Year Award on Nov. 11. Even if he accomplishes the monumental feat, he says he will still wonder, “Well, maybe it was me, but maybe it was someone else.” That someone else is Garth Brooks.

In July, Garth held a virtual press conference to announce that he was respectfully withdrawing his name from future nominations for the CMA Entertainer of the Year Award. Garth won his record-setting seventh CMA Entertainer of the Year Award in 2019.

“It made winning CMA Entertainer of the Year not that much fun,” said Garth, referring to his 2019 win in which he received backlash for winning the award many fans thought Carrie Underwood deserved.

When the 2020 CMA Awards were announced on Sept. 1, Garth got his wish. He was excluded from the Entertainer of the Year category that now features Eric Church, Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban.

While Luke is honored to be nominated for Entertainer of the Year, he told host Elaina Smith of Nights With Elaina that if he wins the award, he will always wonder.

“I understand [Garth’s] move for sure,” says Luke. “But then I also think to myself, when you’re in that conversation [for Entertainer of the Year], I have this competitive nature, I don’t just want to be the best, I want to beat the best, too. So I don’t want to sit at home and go, ‘Well, maybe it was me, but maybe it was somebody else.’”

In addition to Entertainer of the Year, Luke is nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year, Single of the Year (“Beer Never Broke My Heart”), Album of the Year (What You See Is What You Get), Song of the Year (“Even Though I’m Leaving”) and Song of the Year (“I Hope You’re Happy Now”).

Tune in to the CMA Awards on ABC on Nov. 11,

photo by Curtis Hilbun,