NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Country superstar Garth Brooks says he is pulling himself out of nominations for the Country Music Association's entertainer of the year award, saying it's time for someone else to win the top prize.
Brooks, who won the top prize in November, said during an online press conference Wednesday that he doesn't want to be nominated in that category in any upcoming years as well.
“We feel very lucky with seven,” he said.
Brooks said that following his win last year, he read criticism online that said he should step down from the category.
“It made winning entertainer of the year not that fun to tell you the truth,” he said, although he repeatedly said he was thankful of the awards he received.
Leading up to last year's awards show, many people expected and hoped that Carrie Underwood would be the first woman to win entertainer of the year since 2011. But after a show that highlighted women all night, including having three female hosts, Brooks walked away with the top prize.
Brooks said he too was shocked by the win last year and added, “This might be her year," referring to Underwood.
Brooks' name still may end up on a ballot anyway. “The long-standing CMA Awards rules do not allow individuals to remove themselves from the balloting process at any point," the CMA said in a statement.
If voting members nominated him in the first round, which has already been completed, he could end up on the second round ballot, which goes out to voters on Friday. Then they will have to decide whether to include him in the final nominations. The awards show is normally held in November in Nashville, Tennessee.