Carrie Underwood gets stellar new CMA Awards co-hosts

ABC telecast of 53rd annual event salutes women of country music

(From left) Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood and Reba McEntire share hosting duties as ABC televises The 53rd Annual CMA Awards on Wednesday.

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.

Here are the nominees in several major categories in the 53rd Annual CMA Awards:

Album of the year:

  • “Center Point Road,” Thomas Rhett;
  • “Cry Pretty,” Carrie Underwood;
  • “Dan + Shay,” Dan + Shay;
  • “Desperate Man,” Eric Church;
  • “GIRL,” Maren Morris

Single of the year:

  • “Burning Man,” Dierks Bentley featuring Brothers Osborne;
  • “GIRL,” Maren Morris;
  • “God’s Country,” Blake Shelton;
  • “Millionaire,” Chris Stapleton;
  • “Speechless,” Dan + Shay

Song of the year:

  • “Beautiful Crazy”;
  • “GIRL”;
  • “God’s Country”;
  • “Rainbow”;
  • “Tequila”

Female vocalist of the year:

  • Kelsea Ballerini;
  • Miranda Lambert;
  • Maren Morris;
  • Kacey Musgraves;
  • Carrie Underwood

Male vocalist of the year:

  • Dierks Bentley;
  • Luke Combs;
  • Thomas Rhett;
  • Chris Stapleton;
  • Keith Urban

Vocal group of the year:

  • Lady Antebellum;
  • Little Big Town;
  • Midland;
  • Old Dominion;
  • Zac Brown Band

Vocal duo of the year:

  • Brooks & Dunn;
  • Brothers Osborne;
  • Dan + Shay;
  • Florida Georgia Line;
  • Maddie & Tae

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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