Carrie Underwood was the only female nominee in the category this year

By Karen Mizoguchi
November 13, 2019 11:25 PM
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Terry Wyatt/Getty

Garth Brooks is the entertainer of the year!

The star took home the Country Music Association‘s top prize in Nashville on Wednesday, beating out Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Eric Church and Chris Stapleton. Underwood, who hosted for the 12th time and was joined by guest hosts Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire, was the only female nominee in the category.

As he took the stage to accept his prize, Brooks used his moment in the spotlight to shoutout some of country music’s best and brightest, including McEntire, Kelsea Ballerini and Luke Combs. “Love you guys very, very much,” Brooks told the crowd.

“I always try to call it like I see it, if they gave this award for this show tonight I’d have to give it to Reba McEntire’s performance,” he continued. “Kelsea Ballerini, if you want to know what an entertainer is, take a guitar, and just a single voice in the middle of an arena and shrink a room. Fantastic performance tonight. Luke Combs, this has got your name on it in the future, hoss, I can tell you that.”

The star, 57, also gave a thank you to the “band and crews that get our ass off that stage” and ended with a sweet nod to his wife, Trisha Yearwood, who accompanied him to the show.

“I love you, Trisha Yearwood,” he said before leaving the stage.

Garth Brooks
Terry Wyatt/Getty

This is the seventh entertainer of the year title for Brooks, and set the record for most entertainer of the year wins. He most recently won the honor in 2017.

A female artist hasn’t taken home the award since Taylor Swift‘s win in 2011. This year marked the first time a woman has been nominated for entertainer since 2016, when Underwood was also the lone female nominee.

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

The night was filled with extra special performances by McEntire — who sang her beloved 1990 song “Fancy,” — and Parton, who sang a gospel medley with for KING & COUNTRY and Zach Williams. The trio performed “God Only Knows,” a collaboration between Parton and for KING & COUNTRY, her duet with Williams “There Was Jesus,” as well as a new song by Parton called “Faith,” which has yet to be released.

Also, Blake Shelton, who recently won country star of 2019 at the E! People’s Choice Awards, joined Brooks to perform their nominated song “Dive Bar.”

And Pink made her first CMAs appearance to duet with Chris Stapleton for their song “Love Me Anyway.” Meanwhile, Urban graced the stage with a rendition of his hit “We Were.”

Kacey Musgraves and 10-time CMA award winner Willie Nelson also rocked the stage together for the first time.

The 2019 CMA Awards are airing live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 8 p.m. ET.