The 54th Annual CMA Awards will be taking place in Nashville on November 11th the show will be hosted by two new, but familiar, faces. Monday morning, the CMA announced that Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker will be taking over hosting duties.
“DRUMROLL PLEASE! We are thrilled to announce your hosts, together for the first time for this year’s LIVE #CMAAwards on Wednesday, Nov. 11th… none other than Country Music superstars Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker!!,” the CMA captioned a video announcement of the pair.
The pair will be replacing long-time hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley. Brad and Carrie co-hosted the annual event together from 2008 to 2018. In 2019, Underwood was joined by Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire to share hosting duties. But, in December the American Idol champ announced that she was stepping down as CMA Awards host after 12 years.
“I’m so incredibly grateful to everyone involved with the CMA Awards all these years. It’s hard to imagine topping what we have accomplished together, so I’ve decided that it’s time to pass the hosting torch (at least for now!) to others that will cherish it and honor it as much as I do,” Carrie wrote. I’ve got so many exciting things coming in the new year and beyond, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for all of us.
But, the show will be in capable hands. Reba McEntire is an awards show host veteran, having hosted or co-hosted the Academy of Country Music Awards sixteen times and the Country Music Association Awards four times previously. Hootie & the Blowfish frontman-turned-country singer Darius Rucker will be hosting for the very first time.
One of the first people that Rucker said planned to tell about his new co-hosting gig was country legend Charley Pride, Pride was the first black country artist to co-host the awards show, in 1975 with Glen Campbell. And, in 1971, Pride won the CMA’s Entertainer of the year and was named Male Vocalist of the Year in 1971 and 1972.
“When I started in this business, I was at my very first CMAs when I won the best new artist,”Rucker said of being named New Artist of the Year in 2009. “I said to my manager, ‘I want to host this someday.’ I was joking. And to be here 11 years later hosting with Reba freaking McEntire? Wow!”
It’s unclear how the show will be presented due to COVID restrictions, but Reba and Darius are promising a night of laughs.
“We’re trying to keep it upbeat and light. We as a country, we as a nation, we as a world, we need entertainment,” said McEntire. “I think people sitting at home in front of their TV screens or their computers, I think they want to see what we can deliver.”
The show will reportedly be airing from the Music City Center, a convention center just across the street from the show’s regular home at the Bridgestone Arena. Rucker said that while the pandemic will be addressed during the show, the music will be front and center.
“They want to hear music. They want to see stars. They want to see collaborations they haven’t seen before,” said Rucker.
The CMA Awards will air Wednesday, November 11th on ABC.