Opinion: Carrie Underwood Should Have Been the 2019 CMA Entertainer of the Year
I am going to preface this post by saying I am a huge fan of Garth Brooks. I know the…
Carrie Underwood; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images
I am going to preface this post by saying I am a huge fan of Garth Brooks. I know the lyrics to nearly every song in his catalog. He’s an incredible entertainer and human being and he’s definitely deserving of a CMA Entertainer of the Year title…just not this year.
I must add, I am also a big fan of Eric Church, Keith Urban and Chris Stapleton. They are all talented entertainers, artists and songwriters, and once again, they are all deserving of the CMA Entertainer of the Year title, just not this year.
This year, I believe the CMA Awards’ highest honor should have gone to Carrie Underwood and I am going to stand on my soapbox for a minute and tell you why.
According to the official CMA Awards website, the Entertainer of the Year award goes to the artist and the award “is for the act displaying the greatest competence in all aspects of the entertainment field.” The site goes on to say that voters “should give consideration not only to recorded performance, but also to the in-person performance, staging, public acceptance, attitude, leadership, and overall contribution to the Country Music image.”
Underwood checks off all of those boxes and maybe a few more. Here are a few thoughts I feel inclined to share…
Her mass appeal stretches far beyond the country music genre.
She is known globally.
Country music and its history is important to her. In fact, she is one of the few popular country artists and Grand Ole Opry members that makes a point to perform at the Opry multiple times throughout the year.
Don’t even get me started on recorded performance. Have you heard her Cry Pretty album? Her vocals are INSANE.
She’s truly come into her own as a songwriter, musician and now, producer. She has continued to push herself year after year.
Carrie is a working mom and a damn good one at that. She just had a baby (not even 11 months ago!). She went back to work and juggled motherhood while on tour, bringing both of her sons with her on the road. At night, she would wake up to breastfeed Jacob and then get up the following morning, go to soundcheck, work out, go to meet and greets, etc. She never appeared to be tired or rundown and delivered a top-notch show night after night.
Her Cry Pretty Tour 360 was not just a show, it was a full-on experience. There was a massive stage, lights, screens, costume changes and she never skipped a beat during the show.
Now, let’s talk about leadership. You want to talk about supporting women in country music? Carrie brought two up-and-coming female acts with her on the road in 2019. She doesn’t just talk the talk. She walks the walk.
This woman is practically the face of Sunday Night Football, which is primetime television’s No. 1 program.
Not only is she a singer, entertainer, songwriter, etc, she is also a sucessful businesswoman, leading the Calia by Carrie Underwood athleisure brand.
I could go on and on, but I think the reasons stated above prove my point. 2019 was Carrie Underwood’s year to win this and I am pretty disappointed that she didn’t get the recognition she deserved. I have a feeling millions of adoring Carrie Underwood fans would agree.
It’s also worth noting that all of this comes down to politics and I can tell you that I believe one of the reasons Carrie, as well as her fellow nominees and labelmates Urban, Stapleton and Church, didn’t have a big shot at winning is because they are all under the UMG Nashville umbrella, which means the label likely had to split their votes between them to be fair. Therefore, Garth Brooks had a better shot at winning. I could be completely wrong in saying that, but it’s just a thought.
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 Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. 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.