As Church Choir fans across the world celebrated Eric Church‘s first-ever Entertainer of the Year win at the 2020 CMA Awards, no one celebrated harder than the fan sitting across the table from the Chief himself: His fellow nominee in the category, Luke Combs.
In fact, Combs’ elation at seeing Church win was visible on the screen. After the win was announced, the younger artist could be seen yelling “Yeah!” and pointing a celebratory finger in Church’s direction.
Backstage in the virtual press room, Combs elaborated that he would have been happy seeing any of his fellow Entertainer nominees bring home the trophy, and in fact, that family spirit is part of why he loves country music so much.
“I think our ability to come together is like unlike any genre,” said the singer, who walked out of the 2020 CMAs with Male Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year trophies in hand. “I’m a huge advocate of us being excited for each other when we win.”
But more specifically, the singer said he was thrilled to see the trophy go to someone who has long been a musical legend in his eyes. Combs’ fandom of and friendship with Church is well-documented, and the two men even teamed up for ”Does to Me“ on Combs’ What You See is What You Get album.
“Without him, there is no me,” Combs told outlets flatly. “And so I think no one has ever deserved anything more than he deserved to win that trophy tonight. As much as I would have loved to win, I couldn’t have been more excited for him to.”
The two artists were seated at the same table at the CMA Awards this year, and Combs related that throughout the night, they’d been thinking about whether the top prize might go to either of them.
“We were joking about each other winning all night, and so I’m pumped that he did,” the singer went on to say, though he admitted that social distancing protocols kept him from celebrating quite as intensely as he wanted to.
“We can’t exactly kick beers back and hug each other tonight, so I’m gonna be doing some of that with him in spirit,” he continued. “I’m gonna have a little Jack on the bus ride home, and probably eat some Cookout with my wife, which would be the best way to celebrate, in my opinion.”