Luke Combs Humbly Accepts First-Ever CMA Entertainer of the Year Trophy: ‘I’m Really Kind of at a Loss for Words’

The CMA voters have spoken, and Luke Combs has officially been awarded country music’s highest honor: CMA Entertainer of the…


Lauren Jo Black

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November 10, 2021


10:22 pm

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Luke Combs; Photo Courtesy CMA

The CMA voters have spoken, and Luke Combs has officially been awarded country music’s highest honor: CMA Entertainer of the Year. 

This is Combs’ first time receiving the CMA Entertainer of the Year trophy and he seemed to be astonished as he made his way to the stage to accept the trophy from three-time CMA Entertainer of the Year Alan Jackson. 

After hugging and kissing his wife, Nicole Hocking, the North Carolina native and Grand Ole Opry member took the stage at the conclusion of “Country Music’s Biggest Night” to accept the highly coveted honor. 

“I’m really kind of at a loss for words,” Combs said as he held his Entertainer Of The Year trophy. 

“Alan Jackson said my name… TWICE just now. But, I honestly don’t know what to say. I have never written a speech for something like this, which is not serving me very well right now,” Combs confessed. 

He continued, “I just want to thank everybody in this room… The fans, every artist in this room. Every single person that was nominated for this award this year and every year before deserves to win this. I don’t deserve to win it, but I’m sure as hell glad that I did.”

He went to thank his team, family and fans before exiting the stage.


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Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton and Carrie Underwood were also nominated in the category. 

According to official documents from the Country Music Association, the Entertainer of the Year trophy is awarded to the artist and is based on “the act displaying the greatest competence in all aspects of the entertainment field.” The CMA suggests that voters “should give consideration not only to recorded performance, but also to the in-person performance, public acceptance, leadership, and overall contribution to country music. The nomination period for the 2021 show is July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

The 55th Annual CMA Awards featured performances from Luke Combs, Jimmie Allen, Gabby Barrett, Brothers Osborne, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Dan + Shay, Jennifer Hudson, Miranda Lambert, Old Dominion, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton, Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban, and Zac Brown Band.

Additionally, the show included star-studded collaborations by Chris Young and Kane Brown, Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde, Mickey Guyton, Brittney Spencer and Madeline Edwards, Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, BRELAND and HARDY. 

Country singers Trace Adkins, Ingrid Andress, Kelsea Ballerini, Deana Carter, Russell Dickerson, Florida Georgia Line, Alan Jackson, Lady A, Scotty McCreery, Darius Rucker, Lainey Wilson, and Trisha Yearwood were on hand to present during the ceremony.

Lauren Daigle, Faith Fennidy, Freddie Freeman, Amy Grant, Dulé Hill, Elle King, Zachary Levi, Hayley Orrantia, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, Susan Sarandon, Saycon Sengbloh and Kurt Warner also made special appearances throughout the broadcast. 

Hosted by Luke Bryan, the 2021 CMA Awards broadcasted live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 8/7c on ABC. 

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.