Keith Urban’s Entertainer of the Year Win Validates His Hard Work
Keith Urban was visibly shocked when he was awarded Entertainer of the Year at the 2018 CMA Awards on Wednesday night (Nov. 14). It's the first time he's won the award since 2005, and his thrilling, unexpected win became one of the best moments of the night, with the arena erupting in applause at the reveal of his name.
The accolade follows his tenure on the road on his Graffiti U World Tour, which took him around the globe for more than half the year. He was too stunned to move for a few seconds when his name was called, then embracing wife Nicole Kidman and taking to the stage to deliver an acceptance speech with tears in his eyes.
"It's an indescribable feeling to get that tonight," he said backstage after the CMAs ended. "Someone said, 'Did you do any campaigning?' and I went, 'I just played every night.'"
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Urban has long had a reputation as one of Nashville's hardest workers and one of country music's most passionate performers. The award is not just a symbol of his success, but a reflection of his love of touring. It's a culmination of the years he spent working in clubs performing cover songs; now he fills arenas with fans coming to hear his original songs.
"I love playing, I love entertaining, I love putting on shows ... this Graffiti U Tour was so much work putting it on, getting it up and running. But then it just became the most euphoric experience night after night when everybody was singing along with all these new songs. That's probably the most incredible feeling," he admits.
The Entertainer of the Year prize is for his family, too — wife Kidman and daughters Faith and Sunday were the first people he gave a shoutout to in his acceptance speech. Another he named was his father, who died in 2015 but was a man Urban credited as being a "huge influence" in his life.
"He set me on the path that I'm on," the singer says humbly. "But I feel his presence. I'm very, very grateful for that."
Prior to his big win, Urban lit up the stage with a performance of his upbeat single "Never Comin' Down," in addition to performing as part of Ricky Skaggs' vintage country tribute.
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