In a wide-ranging interview for Rolling Stone’s August cover story, the 41-year-old country superstar opened up about why Brooks’ performance makes him so upset.
“To me, lip-synching is and always will be a red line. It’s fabricated. I don’t want young artists thinking it’s OK, because it’s not,” he explained, adding that what made things worse was that Brooks picked up the award for entertainer of the year that night — an accolade Church was also nominated for.
“So the winner of the biggest category of the night lip-synched in the biggest moment on the show?” he added. “F— that!”
Continuing, Church remarked: “And I didn’t like his excuse at all. I felt like he was speaking for the other nominees. I can speak for myself — I’m not lip-synching. If I can’t sing, I won’t sing, or I’ll sing badly. But at least you’ll get what you get.”
A rep for Brooks didn’t return PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Following the awards ceremony last November, Brooks, 55, explained to reporters backstage that his decision to lip-sync “Ask Me How I Know” came from being in the middle of a grueling tour.
“We’re in the middle of 12 shows in 10 days,” Brooks said. “Not 10 shows in 12 days, 12 shows in 10 days. We did a game-time call on whether to sing the track or lip-sync, and decided to lip-sync.”
The singer continued, “The voice just isn’t there anymore, and you want to represent country music as best you can.”
Church also went on to insist that even though he was disappointed about losing out to Garth for the award, he ultimately wasn’t that bothered.
“I thought if we ever had a chance, that was it,” he continued, adding that ultimately “it’s fine.”
“I’ve lost a lot of awards,” he remarked.
However, his wife Katherine wasn’t nearly as level-headed about the loss. “She was sitting there beside me, grinning through her teeth, going, ‘I’m about to Kanye this thing.’ “
“I keep a lot of my opinions to myself and respect anyone making music but as a person who tries to put on the best and most honest show I can night after night… this truly offends me,” the singer-songwriter wrote on Instagram at the time. “I was told country music is three chords and the truth.”
Lambert quickly added her own thoughts in the comment section. “High five on this babe. If you can’t sing then don’t. It’s better to be honest than to pretend. I think it’s bulls—. My favorite performances were live. The truth.”