Sad news everyone, the Entertainer of the Year is the final award to announce (sad face.) In late January, we started unveiling the inaugural Beats Beer Bonfire Award winners. It started off with High Valley winning the first-ever Canadian Group of the Year. We saw winners from Texas, new artists, old artists, and everyone between win something. Now, it all leads up to this. The biggest award in the entire country that someone can win, is the Entertainer of the Year.
How does an artist get into this exclusive list of nominees? Well, the artist had to be a nominee for either Male of the Year, Female of the Year, or Group of the Year. When then narrowed the list down to four through voting on Instagram, and these are who we got left with. After we got these four, we narrowed the list down to two finalists, and then got the Entertainer of the Year.
Enter heavy drums and loud guitars, Jason Aldean is the first nominee for Entertainer of the Year. Aldean was already voted a winner by you guys, winner of the Beats Beer Bonfires Male Artist of the Year. Now he is competing for the biggest award we offer. Aldean is a household name. He won the 2010’s artist of the decade, and many Artist and Entertainer of the Year awards. He also was the best mainstream country rapper before Morgan Wallen came along. “Dirt Road Anthem” is one of a selection of massive country smashes Aldean has released. In 2021 he might have released another career song. “If I Didn’t Love You” with Carrie Underwood was a huge number one hit, as well as a nominee for our Song of the Year award. The song is off the first half of his new double album, “Macon” which was released in November.
Aldean is known for his electric shows, and he didn’t fail to put together the best lineup of any tour last year. Hardy and Lainey Wilson joined him on the “Back in the Saddle Tour.” Although Jason Aldean might not be the hottest name in country music. Despite this he still churns out number one hits single after single and will likely do it for years to come. Was that enough to get him the award though?
Luke Bryan has spent a lot of time getting shit on for not being country. Look I get it, he didn’t do anything to help that narrative ten years ago. Today though he is more country than eighty percent of country radio. I’m not saying that as comparing Bryan to Johnny Cash at all, but he’s more country than Dan and Shay are by a mile. Bryan is here despite being royally fucked over last year. His tour lineup was supposed to have Morgan Wallen (ever heard of him?) on it. But, when Bobby Bones made Morgan Wallen “go away for a while” and everyone freaked out Wallen decided to not tour. Bryan recruited Dylan Scott to replace Wallen, and Caylee Hammock for the “Proud to be Right Here Tour.”
Bryan released a deluxe version of his “Born Here Live Here Die Here” album last year. It spawned the number one hit “Waves” as well as the current single “Up.” His other number-one hit song that was on the original version of the album was “Down to One.” Although he might never become of the traditionalist’s favorites, Luke Bryan will go down as one of the most successful country singers ever. We should at least respect that. Does his legacy plus his strong 2021 give him the edge in this category though?
Coming into 2021, Luke Combs might have been the other Luke. He might be changing that though as Combs had a monster year. He had three number one songs “Better Together,” “Forever After All,” and “Cold as You.” One of those, “Forever After All” was our Song of the Year winner as well. On top of that, he has never not had a song go #1 on country radio.
As for touring, he headlined the “What You See is What You Get Tour” with Ashley McBryde and his good buddy Drew Parker. The tour came near me in December, but he’s still selling out everywhere he goes. The ticket prices for nosebleeds are $120 minimum. I would’ve loved to go, but that’s insane. I am happy for him though that he is commanding those prices (if I could get that I’d charge it all day.) Perhaps someday those prices will drop and I’ll be able to watch him live. With him and Morgan Wallen in line to be the next big names in country music, I don’t foresee that happening.
I might be super high on Thomas Rhett. At the end of the decade, when he is 39 years old, he will be the third biggest name in the genre. It’ll be Luke Combs and Morgan Wallen in their own stratosphere, with Rhett lingering underneath them. Sure, in that time some new hottest thing will come up and challenge that, but Rhett is a low-key monster. Currently, Rhett is 31 and has seventeen number one songs. He has been relevant since 2012, ten years now, and he still has more staying power than everyone else in the genre. His live shows keep getting better and more energetic, the dudes an animal. If he doesn’t have a year or two where he is selling out stadiums someone in his management fucked up.
He had a big year for music in 2021 as well and set himself up for an even bigger one in 2022. His album “Country Again: Side A” spawned the singles “What’s Your Country Song” and “Country Again.” He then released a single from another new album called “Slowdown Summer” which is on the radio right now. Then he is going to release that album in February, and then “Country Again: Side B” at the end of 2022. Got it? As for touring, he had a pretty fire lineup. The “Center Point Road Tour” had Cole Swindell as its feature. It also has our Female Artist of the Year and top ten hottest female artists in country music Gabby Barret as the opener. When your opener is the biggest active name in country music, you know a tour is badass. But now that you’ve met the nominees, let’s get down to the winner.
2022 Beats Beer Bonfires Entertainer of the Year: Luke Combs
Shocked? Yeah, probably not. Of course, it’s Luke Combs! The father-to-be, husband to our hottest country music WAG, and Single of the Year winner, is a fan favorite and will be for a long time to come. Combs is due for a new album in 2022. We might not only see him repeat Entertainer of the Year next year, but dominate other categories. There is one potential roadblock lying ahead though. Some guy named Morgan Wallen is headlining a massive tour and releasing music to the radio again. 2021 was a good year for music, but 2022 is about to blow it away. For this year though, congratulations to Luke Combs. He is the first-ever Beats Beer Bonfires Entertainer of the Year!