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Academy CEO Damon Whiteside has now assured fans that everything was above board and the tie stands, telling Billboard in a statement: “We were as shocked as (ceremony host) Keith Urban when we heard the results.

“We have an independent third party accounting firm that tabulates our results based on nearly 5,000 voting members of the Academy. Our awards policy is that in the event of (a) tie both artists receive trophies. While the odds are highly unlikely for a tie, it has happened in the past in other ACM award categories and with other awards shows.”

He added: “Both of this year’s winners are so worthy, and we are thrilled that Thomas Rhett won his first Entertainer of the Year. Carrie Underwood’s record-breaking third win in that category is much deserved. This certainly was an exciting cap off to an unprecedented year, and we are proud to have created a spectacular, historical show.”

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