Academy of Country Music Awards bosses are standing by Wednesday night’s historic Entertainer of the Year Award tie at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee, insisting both performers scored exactly the same votes.
Carrie Underwood and Thomas Rhett became the first-ever dual winners of the coveted prize in the ACM Awards’ 55-year history and both took to the stage to graciously accept the trophy and honour each other.
But country fans were seething and many took to social media after the televised ceremony to ask how there could be a tie for the biggest award of the night.
Academy CEO Damon Whiteside has now assured fans that everything was above board and the tie stands, telling Billboard in a statement: “We were as shocked as (ceremony host) Keith Urban when we heard the results.
“We have an independent third party accounting firm that tabulates our results based on nearly 5,000 voting members of the Academy. Our awards policy is that in the event of (a) tie both artists receive trophies. While the odds are highly unlikely for a tie, it has happened in the past in other ACM award categories and with other awards shows.”
He added: “Both of this year’s winners are so worthy, and we are thrilled that Thomas Rhett won his first Entertainer of the Year. Carrie Underwood’s record-breaking third win in that category is much deserved. This certainly was an exciting cap off to an unprecedented year, and we are proud to have created a spectacular, historical show.”