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Underwood, Rhett tie for US country prize

By AAP Newswire

In a surprise twist to fit an unexpected year of firsts, Carrie Underwood and Thomas Rhett have tied for entertainer of the year at the US Academy of Country Music Awards.

It's the first time the top prize has been split between two artists.

Underwood and Rhett seemed equally taken aback after host Keith Urban announced the result at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee, on Wednesday.

"Keith, what is happening right now?" Rhett asked, astounded, before thanking his family.

Underwood appeared right after remarking, "2020, man?" before adding, "I am more than happy to share this with Thomas Rhett."

The show on CBS had been delayed for months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, moved from Las Vegas to Nashville for the first time and held without audiences in empty venues.

There was a lot of anticipation for the show, which featured Taylor Swift's first appearance at the ACMs in seven years.

Underwood's win is her third in that category and Rhett's first win.

They beat out other nominees Eric Church, Luke Bryan and Luke Combs.

Coincidentally, a woman hasn't won that award since 2011 when Swift last won it.

Combs still went home a winner by picking up album of the year and male artist of the year.

Country group Old Dominion won song of the year and group of the year.