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Paisley, Underwood return as hosts of CMA Awards

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will return as co-hosts of the Country Music Association Awards in Nashville this fall.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will return as co-hosts of the Country Music Association Awards in Nashville this fall.

The CMA said Tuesday that both singers possess the humor and timing needed to host the three-hour show, which airs live on ABC Nov. 11.

The pair, two of country's most popular young stars, hosted for the first time last year.

"We didn't know what to expect the first time. We had no idea," Underwood said. "Things are different from year to year, but the overall layout — we've got it down."

The host slot has been something of a revolving door since the affable Vince Gill ended a 12-year run in 2003. Brooks & Dunn hosted from 2004-2006, and in 2007 the CMA experimented with no host as multiple artists presided over different segments.

Seated beside each other, Paisley and Underwood said they wrapped up last year's show hoping to be invited back.

"We trust our instincts a little more now," Paisley said. "When they ask you to host and you've never done it before, it could be really bad. We all know of situations in various awards shows where that hosting thing didn't work very well.

"We've all sat through crickets," Underwood added. "Someone said something that was supposed to be a joke, and it's like, 'What are they talking about?'"

Last year, both singers performed during the broadcast, and both accepted major awards during the program: Paisley won male vocalist of the year and Underwood won female vocalist of the year.

"I think being the host made the award and performing part easier," said Underwood, who has five CMA awards, including three consecutive wins as female vocalist. "If your award — the one you really want to win — is at the end of the show, you're going to be sitting there for two and a half hours thinking about that award. We had so much other stuff to do."

Paisley, who has 11 CMA awards, thinks he and Underwood did a good job last year — no jokes that bombed, no bloopers and no wardrobe malfunctions. And knowing what to expect the second time around can only help.

"I think we can get away with some more stuff," Paisley said.

But in the end, Paisley said he and Underwood they complement each other well.

"You can have her out there with all this class and dignity and bring someone on the way they deserve," he said. "And then they can have somebody like me out there where that unfortunate performer gets gypped."


ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co.