ABC telecast of 53rd annual event salutes women of country music
It won’t take very long for viewers to notice one big difference in this year’s CMA Awards.
Carrie Underwood has been teamed with Brad Paisley to host the previous 11 editions of the event … and though she’ll be back this time, he won’t. However, she’s getting not just one stellar co-hosting successor but two, as Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton join Underwood as “special guest hosts” when ABC broadcasts the Country Music Association’s 53rd annual ceremony from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 13.
The occasion is being billed as “celebrating the legendary women of country music,” and McEntire and Parton – past CMA entertainer of the year winners both — have proven in their other hosting gigs that they can be quite humorous and topical. That’s something for which Underwood and Paisley became well-known in their tandem CMA Awards stints, with their opening numbers particularly and traditionally fertile for timely wisecracks.
Of course, the awards themselves still will be the main thing, with numerous country stars featured both solo and in teamings. Maren Morris is the leader in the nominations with six, followed by Brothers Osborne with four … and a slew of talents who are up for three honors each, including show host Underwood. The others with a trio of chances are Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Dan + Shay, Scott Hendricks (producer), Dann Huff (producer), Greg Kurstin (songwriter-producer-engineer), Kacey Musgraves, Blake Shelton and Chris Stapleton.
One aspect that particularly has endeared the CMA Awards to the radio business is its yearly recognition of stations and personalities supporting country via their outlets’ formats. That tradition continues — with the nominees categorized by market size and the winners notified in advance, this year by Underwood – and such nationally heard disc jockeys as Bobby Bones and Storme Warren among those who were in the running.