Chris Stapleton was named the winner of the 2023 ACM Awards' highest honor on Thursday night (May 11). The singer won Entertainer of the Year, a trophy that takes into account an artist's recorded output, live show and status as a leader in the country genre.

Trisha Yearwood presented the trophy, greeting Stapleton with a hug when he came to the stage.

"Well, I am in shock. Truly. Thank you," a stunned Stapleton said, holding his trophy. "By any imaginable metric, I don't deserve this, but thank you. There are so many other great people in this category. I stand up and I play music. That's what I try to do every night...I've never through of myself as somebody who would win this award, and I'm so grateful."

Stapleton went on to thank his band, team and crew, but as his speech came on, it became increasingly clear how shocked he was by the surprise of his win.

"I'm really at a loss of what to say," he admitted.

The singer then teared up as he turned his attention to his most important fans — the five children he shares with his wife Morgane, who nearly always performs alongside him onstage.

"I wanna say to my kids at home, they give up a lot of my time and a lot of my wife's time so we can go do this," Stapleton said, his voice quavering. "This is for them."

Stapleton beat out Jason Aldean, Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Kane Brown and Morgan Wallen to win his trophy.

Over the course of his career, the star has come to be known as one of country music's most robust and dependable hitmakers. His annual All-American Road Show's 2023 iteration kicked off just a couple of weeks before the 2023 ACMs, proving once more that he's a master at delivering consistent, high-caliber entertainment on a large scale. Stapleton's other high profile early-2023 appearances included a national anthem performance at the Super Bowl and an unforgettable onstage collaboration with Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder at the 2023 Grammy Awards.

Though Stapleton has been a frequent flyer in Entertainer of the Year categories for a few years now, the 2023 ACMs marks his first win in the category at either the ACMs or the CMAs. At Thursday night's ceremony, he also got nominations in the Male Artist of the Year and Song of the Year categories, the latter for his Starting Over track, "You Should Probably Leave."

The 2022 ACM Awards took place on Frisco, Texas and streamed live and on demand on Amazon Prime Video. Garth Brooks and Dolly Parton co-hosted the show.

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