The Nashville star is up for entertainer of the year at the 2018 CMAs

By Jeff Nelson
November 14, 2018 08:22 PM

Luke Bryan is happy to crack a joke about his sizable trophy collection.

On Wednesday, the country star attended the Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, where he jested that he’s a performer simply for the acclaim.

“I mean, it’s the basis and the nucleus of why I tour. I do it for self-gratification. It’s what I live for,” the droll singer, 42, deadpanned during PeopleTV’s exclusive red carpet broadcast. “Just, every morning, I eat my Frosted Flakes and I stare at my awards!”

All jokes aside, the Music City mainstay has had a remarkable year, having hit the road for his What Makes You Country Tour following the 2017 release of his sixth studio album of the same name.

The Nashville star also opened up about the upcoming season of ABC’s American Idol reboot.

Check out PEOPLE’s full CMA Awards coverage to get the latest news on country music’s biggest night.

Luke Bryan and wife Caroline
Jason Kempin/Getty

“I think the biggest advice is to be yourself. We’ve seen people come in that aren’t the best singers in the world, but they’re so original and authentic, and you can’t take your eyes off of them. So just be yourself. Follow your heart always,” Bryan said of the wisdom he’d share with up-and-coming artists on the talent competition.

“When we see singers come in that are very … they’re great singers, they’re very proper, they’re very perfected — the kiss of death is, ‘I’m a trained…’ [or] ‘I’ve been getting vocals lessons for 10 years,'” he added. “We’re like, ‘Oh God, one of them.’ Vocal lessons help you for preserving your voice and being smart about your voice, but if I would have vocal lessons, they would have removed this strange situation right here.”

Bryan is nominated for the 2018 entertainer of the year title at the CMAs, which he opened with a star-studded performance of “What Makes You Country,” telling the crowd: “Let’s be proud of what makes us country tonight.”

The 52nd annual CMA Awards air Wednesday, Nov. 14 from Nashville at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.