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Backstage at the 51st Annual CMA Awards: From church to confessional

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Country superstar Garth Brooks joins Chris Stapleton Keith Urban Eric Church and Luke Bryan as the nominees for the 'Entertainer of the Year' award

The social media backlash came so fast and furious that Brooks readily admitted to the deception by the time he met with reporters backstage following the awards show in Nashville.

The 55-year-old legendary musician, who is now touring, lip-synced his performance of "Ask Me How I Know" earlier in the evening, and after picking up his prize he told reporters backstage that he wasn't well and it was necessary.

The 51st Annual CMA Awards in Nashville, Nov 8, 2017.

The 55-year-old singer was just one of the winners at the ceremony, which was also televised, taking home the top award for Entertainer of the Year. All you guys down here on the front row: We can all agree on one thing. "That band and crew works harder than anybody".

Brooks was in good company, having been nominated alongside Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Chris Stapleton and Keith Urban for the 2017 title. Reba McEntire presented him with this year's honour, with Garth acknowledging her and the rest of his country music "family" during his acceptance speech.

On the red carpet of the CMA Awards, Garth Brooks assured us the show opening would be unlike any other.

"Sleep. Christmas. Sleep. New Year's Eve". I was talking to Kelsea (Ballerini) backstage about how we get to do this for a living.

The victor told PEOPLE exclusively he plans to share the hardware with his wife and crew.

As for how they are going to celebrate, Garth said, "Taco Bell!" Some years, that family gets a little more challenge than others and they'll rise for it.

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