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.
“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.
View this post on Instagram
This birthday was my 30th on Friday. I asked my very closest friends (& our sweet family ) who have walked through life with me and loved me well through high school, college, and my grown up life to come to Moab, Utah to celebrate with us. Well 53 of them showed up and on top of that, on my actual birthday, I wanted to go on a sunrise hike to Arches National Park to see Delicate Arch, and almost 50 of them woke up with me at 3:30 in the morning to hike (straight UP) under the stars in the freezing cold and got to watch some of God’s amazing creation come to life as the sun came up it was and will forever be one of the most humbling and most unforgettable special moments of my life I know it✨ I have never felt more loved and I am so thankful for each of you more pics to come from the trip-one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen We’ll be back Moab
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.”