If the buzz around Nashville in the weeks leading up the 2019 CMA Awards was to be believed, the biggest trophy of the night -- Entertainer of the Year -- was sure to go to either Eric Church or Carrie Underwood. Underwood's case for the title was particularly compelling.

Not only did she have a banner year out on the road with her massive, complex Cry Pretty 360 Tour, and the support of fellow artists like Runaway June and Miranda Lambert, but a win for her would have been a fitting end to a night dedicated to honoring the genre's legendary female artists. If she'd won, it would have been the first time a woman received the honor since Taylor Swift did so in 2011.

Ultimately, though, the 2019 trophy went not to Underwood, but to Garth Brooks, taking many fans by surprise. In an interview with Good Morning America, Brooks admits that his win took him by surprise, too.

"It was the year of the women, so we were all expecting Carrie anyway, and she justly deserved it as well as the other nominees," Brooks notes, going on to say that having to give an acceptance speech at the awards show caught him off guard.

"We were sitting there talking [and] boom, your name gets called and you don't have anything prepared or nothing, so you pretty much just tell them what you thought of the show," he recounts.

Brooks used his acceptance speech to turn the spotlight on the artists who, for him, were standout performers that evening. "If they gave this award to this show tonight, I'd have to give it to Reba McEntire's performance. Kelsea Ballerini ... fantastic performance tonight," he said from the stage. "Luke Combs ... this has got your name on it in the future, hoss."

It was the seventh time Brooks has taken home the title of CMA Entertainer of the Year; he's the most awarded artist in the category's history.

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