Garth Brooks didn't realize the uproar he'd cause when he chose lip-sync his performance of "Ask Me How" at the 2017 CMA Awards, he explains during an episode of Ellen airing Monday (Nov. 20). He was simply trying to save his voice for upcoming tour dates.

"We did 12 shows in 10 days, and right in the middle of those 12 shows was the CMAs," Brooks recalls. "So we went in and did a track for it, just in case my voice was gone. [We] made a game-day decision and played it because we still had seven shows starting the next night in Spokane."

DeGeneres seems to take the country superstar's side in the controversy in the above clip, acknowledging that it was wise of him to save his voice for customers paying to see him in concert. Brooks says he'd make the same decision again.

"The truth is, I love awards shows, but for me they're like the tree is to Christmas," he says. "They're the symbol of it, but they're not what it's all about. What it's about is those people who put those butts in the seat, travel, fight that traffic. That's who you save your voice for. We made the decision and I gotta tell you, if it happened again tomorrow I'd make the same decision."

Seasoned entertainers Randy TravisBlake Shelton and Reba McEntire eagerly jumped to Brooks' defense, with the "Fancy" hitmaker calling Brooks "the hardest working man I've ever seen in my life."

"He will not let his fans down," she said after the dust of the lip-syncing controversy settled. "I applaud him — he did need to lip-sync, he showed up!"

While on Ellen, Brooks also promoted his new anthology — the first issue, The First Five Years, was released last week — and fought off a scare by the talk show host without so much as a flinch.

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