Country music stars Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley have an important role as the hosts of the 51st annual CMA Awards. This year, it will be the first major country music event to take place since the devastating Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting on October 1st, which left 58 people dead and hundreds more injured in Las Vegas. With a sensitive topic on the line, many fans are wondering how the Country Music Association and the hosts of the big night will address the issue.
“There’s pressure if you don’t handle it right,” Paisley shared with Rolling Stone at an event in Nashville. “If you deal with it wrong, there’s an enormous amount of pressure.”
The two country singers will handle the pressure well and, together, they will address the victims and the artists involved with sensitivity and respect. A planned tribute and symbolic theme will honor those affected on the night of the annual awards show.
“We’re not going to ignore it, but we’re not going to also dwell on that,” Paisley continued. “We have to make sure we honor those we’ve lost, but we also [have to] celebrate this music, which lives on, and do a good job of having the heart ew need to have on that night. And also the theme of the show this year is very much about unity and coming together as a format.”
As they recognize the tragic event, there will be times of sadness. However, Paisley wants to assure fans that the show will still be light-hearted and entertaining. After many years of hosting the CMA Awards together, Underwood and Paisley have chemistry that keeps things fun. As a duo, they take on personas, which often pegs Paisley as the humorous idiot. He enjoys it, though.
“This is a challenging year in some ways, but at the same time I’m really honored we have the keys,” he stated.
Underwood and Paisley will share the spotlight with the many artists set to take the stage throughout the night. There will be performances from Underwood herself, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Garth Brooks, Brothers Osborne, Eric Church, Little Big Town, Old Dominion, Alan Jackson, Jon Pardi, Chris Stapleton, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Thomas Rhett.
Other artists will be collaborating, including Kelsea Ballerini with Reba McEntire, Dierks Bentley with Rascal Flatts, Maren Morris with Niall Horan, and Paisley with Kane Brown. Additionally, pop artist P!nk will perform, and the show will kick-off with a unique collaboration from Eric Church, Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban and Darius Rucker.
The 51st annual CMA Awards will air live from Nashville on Wednesday, November 8th, at 8/7c on ABC.