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In Utah, country star Thomas Rhett talks about last night’s bizarre win

Deseret News logo Deseret News 9/17/2020 Lottie Elizabeth Johnson
Thomas Rhett standing in front of a stage: Thomas Rhett accepts the entertainer of the year award in a tie with Carrie Underwood during the 55th annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the Grand Ole Opry House on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. © Mark Humphrey, Associated Press Thomas Rhett accepts the entertainer of the year award in a tie with Carrie Underwood during the 55th annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the Grand Ole Opry House on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn.

SALT LAKE CITY — This year continues to be a mixed bag of surprises.

For the first time in its 55-year history, the Academy of Country Music Awards ended in a tie. On Wednesday night, Carrie Underwood and Thomas Rhett both walked away with the top prize of “Entertainer of the Year.”

The country stars appeared shocked when Keith Urban made the announcement at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House, according to CBS News.

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“Keith, what is happening right now?” Rhett asked.

“2020, man!” Underwood said, adding that she was “more than happy to share this with Thomas Rhett,” CBS News reported.

This marks Underwood’s third time claiming the award, and Rhett’s first.

Several fans were upset about the unexpected outcome, according to the New York Post.

On Twitter, one fan wrote: “I just don’t understand why they didn’t have another round of voting where people chose between Carrie and Thomas Rhett. Imagine the Super Bowl or a World Series game ending in a tie.”

But both Underwood and Rhett seemed fine to share the award.

“Thank you to the ACM not just for this (award) but for putting me in such incredible company,” Underwood said, according to CNN. “I am more than happy to share this with Thomas Rhett and just to have my name mentioned with his.”

After the ceremony, Rhett told “Today” he flew back to Utah to be with his family (according to his Twitter, the singer had been on a road trip with his wife, Lauren Akins, and their three daughters prior to the ceremony in Nashville).

Rhett has at least a little history with Utah — he’s performed in the state a number of times, and for his wife’s 30th birthday last fall, they traveled to Moab and hiked around Arches and Canyonlands national parks.

Rhett is scheduled to perform at West Valley City’s USANA Amphitheatre next July.

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After the awards ceremony, the country singer spoke briefly with “Today” about his unique win.

“Just watching it back just now … it’s just amazing that that even happened in the first place,” he said from Utah. “Carrie’s statement ‘2020, man’ is so correct. … It was just nuts. I was standing backstage and I heard Keith say, ‘You’re not going to believe this. It’s a two-way tie.

“I’ve been doing this now I guess for about eight or nine years, and I’m accepting an award with the legendary, iconic Carrie Underwood,” he continued. “It was the most surreal moment of my life, and so happy for her. It’s just amazing.”

During the brief interview, Rhett asked his wife of nearly eight years to join the call. She spoke with pride about her husband and his accomplishments.

“I think we’re both still processing, but just — watching years and years of him put so much work and energy and love towards country music and the people who come to the shows, and all the people who work with him … it feels like finally, after all these years, it’s his ultimate dream come true,” she said. “And it’s just so cool to watch. Just so proud of him and everybody.”

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