On Wednesday night, for the first time the history of the Academy of Country Music Awards, the prestigious award of Entertainer of the Year was awarded to two artists. Host Keith Urban looked surprised when he announced that both Thomas Rhett and Carrie Underwood would take home the show’s top honor. Rhett was announced first and then Underwood, and both gave their own acceptance speeches.
The ACMs caught the immediate reaction of the winners after they walked backstage with their awards. In a social media video posted on the ACMs’ page, Rhett said, “I’m beaming, my heart is racing, what an amazing honor,” and then thanked his fans for their support. In a separate video, Underwood reacted backstage, saying, “This was just such an amazing night. It was an honor for me in so many ways; I got to honor some of my heroes and, of course, walk with one of these, so it was a great night.”
The EOTY winners also did longer interviews about their wins backstage, and when asked how he felt about winning the award, Rhett responded with surprise and gratitude.
“When I was standing backstage and listening to Keith call the names, I was just like, ‘There’s no way,’” says Rhett, who is a first-time winner of the award. “When he said there was a tie, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is amazing.’ First time in ACM history that anyone has ever tied for Entertainer of the Year, and for me to get to tie this award with Carrie Underwood is just mind blowing. I’ve worked so hard to be even thought of for the nomination of this category.”
Underwood, who is a three-time winner of the category, also did backstage interviews, commenting on her award and on the unique awards show as a whole.
“It feels great,” she told reporters. “This is the most unusual awards show I’ve been to, but I think everybody did such a great job to celebrate music, and it’s that thing where everybody’s just figuring out how to do what we do in a different way.
“There were, obviously, so many incredible nominees and performances and winners, so just to be a part of it definitely feels special,” she continued.
The 55th Academy of Country Music Awards took place on Wednesday, September 16 in Nashville, TN.