The Country Music Association Awards almost fully honored and highlighted the women of country music—whose songs have been heavily dismissed on country radio over the years—until two words were uttered when they named its entertainer of the year: Garth Brooks. Wednesday night’s show kicked off with a performance featuring country female acts across generations, included three female hosts and had Maren Morris as its top nominee. But in the final moments, Brooks won the top prize over Carrie Underwood, who many had hoped would be the first female to win entertainer of the year since 2011, the AP reports. Brooks did highlight female acts during his acceptance speech at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
“If they gave this award for this show tonight, I’d have to give it to Reba McEntire’s performance,” Brooks said, also praising Kelsea Ballerini and Luke Combs, who won two honors. Underwood hosted the show alongside McEntire and Dolly Parton, though she didn’t win any awards. Morris, however, marked a big night for female country acts by taking home album of the year for "GIRL." The award also went to her producer busbee, who died in September at age 43 from brain cancer. Kacey Musgraves, who won four Grammys this year, picked up female vocalist of the year and music video of the year for "Rainbow." Other women who won Wednesday included Ashley McBryde, who won new artist of the year, and fiddle player Jenee Fleenor, named musician of the year.
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