Garth Brooks says he was taken by surprise when his name was announced as the Entertainer of the Year at the 2019 CMA Awards. The country megastar believed Carrie Underwood would take home the most prestigious award of the night.

Underwood returned to co-host the awards for the twelfth time in 2019, and Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire joined her as guest co-hosts for a special program that highlighted the historical contributions female artists have made to country music. Brooks tells Good Morning America that he was so certain Underwood would win, he didn't even have a speech prepared at the awards ceremony on Nov. 13.

"It was the year of the women, so we were all expecting Carrie anyway, and she justly deserved it as well as the other nominees," he says. "We were sitting there talking [and] boom, your name gets called and you don't have anything prepared or nothing, so you pretty much just tell them what you thought of the show."

Brooks came under fire on social media from fans who called him out for not mentioning Underwood in his acceptance speech, while he did give shoutouts to several others. But he told and other media backstage that he had already spoken to her before he accepted his award.

"Miss Carrie was backstage, but she came up at the very end," Brooks says. "So as far as getting to be with the nominees, that was beautiful as an entertainer I just wanted to share that what Reba McEntire did tonight, that's an entertainer, and we all felt it, we all saw it. And then I got to say it wasn't just picking on the women. What Kelsea Ballerini did with just a guitar in an arena and shrink that thing down on national TV? That's a fricking entertainer right there."

"So I just wanted to make sure that they knew," Brooks states. "And then when you watch Luke Combs, he's a natural and then he's going to have eight of these. It's good because country music, the future's in great hands."

Underwood was also nominated for Female Vocalist and Album of the Year, but did not end up taking home any awards at the 2019 CMA Awards. She brought the house down with a dramatic performance of her current single, "Drinking Alone," during the broadcast.

Watch Miranda Lambert Get Choked Up Talking About Carrie Underwood

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