Reba McEntire isn't just defending lip-syncing Garth Brooks, she's celebrating him. During a recent interview the country legend applauded the CMA Entertainer of the Year for taking the stage last week, even though he didn't sing live.

Speaking to Access Hollywood Live McEntire referred to the many shows Brooks played leading up to the CMA Awards. "He's the hardest working man I've ever seen in my life," she says. "He will not let his fans down. I kinds applaud him — he did need to lip-sync, he showed up!"

"He’s not that good at it," she adds, "so you know he doesn’t do it very often!"

Fans noticed Brooks lip-syncing his Nov. 8 CMAs performance of "Ask Me How I Know," but before they could criticize, he'd already admitted it. After all the tour dates and an illness, he says he just didn't have the voice to do the show proud. McEntire suggests the criticism is misguided — the 55-year-old entertainer is the hardest working person she knows.

"I can’t out-work Garth. I’m not going to criticize Garth at all. I can’t out work him," she says. It was McEntire who presented the Entertainer of the Year to Brooks that night.

Randy Travis and Blake Shelton are two more who've stood up for Brooks, while Miranda Lambert and her boyfriend Anderson East were critical of his non-live performance. Brooks himself has not commented in the nine days since.

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