The Country Music Association (CMA) Awards, which recognize excellence in country music, aired live Wednesday, Nov. 11, on ABC Television Network. Country star Reba McEntire hosted for a fifth time, joined by country icon Darius Rucker, who made his debut as host.
Industry professionals — including executives, publicists, songwriters, and musicians — vote each year since the event started in 1967 for nominees in several award categories. The Entertainer of the Year award is the most prestigious of the CMA awards, given to artists who excel in all aspects of their craft. This, according to the CMA, includes their recorded work, live performances, fan followings, personality, and “overall contribution to the Country Music image.”
It’s no wonder then that the list of Entertainer of the Year winners includes many of the genre’s most beloved artists. Early awards were granted to the likes of country royalty Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson, while the most recent winners are Keith Urban, a seventh time winner, and Eric Church, whose win in 2020 was his first.
Nominees for the award this year were all fan favorites, consisting of Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert, Carrier Underwood, and Keith Urban. These are the most popular country music stars.
24/7 Tempo reviewed archived data from The Country Music Association (CMA) to determine the winners of the Entertainer of the Year Award going back to the year of its inception in 1967. All data is from the official CMA website except for each artist’s most popular song for each year, which is based on performance on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.