By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — This year’s 54th annual Country Music Association (CMA) Awards will make some history. The show will air live from the Music City Center in downtown Nashville from 7-10 p.m. CST Nov. 11. The co-hosts will be Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker. It’s McEntire’s fifth hosting stint and the first for Rucker. It’s also the first time a Black performer has co-hosted the CMA Awards since Charley Pride joined Glenn Campbell in 1975.
“I’m thrilled to be back hosting the CMA Awards and even more thrilled that I get to share the stage with Darius Rucker,” McEntire said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to a night of celebrating great country music and hope you’ll tune in and watch!” McEntire co-hosted the CMAs in 2019 with Carrie Underwood and Dolly Parton. She also co-hosted in 1990 (with Randy Travis) and in 1992 (with Vince Gill) and she was the solo host in 1991. In addition to her five stints as CMA host or co-host, McEntire hosted or co-hosted the rival ACM Awards a record 16 times from 1993-2019.
Rucker added, “I look forward to the CMA Awards every year because of the incredible performances and the opportunity to celebrate the year in country music. To be invited to host this year’s awards alongside Reba — are you kidding me?! — it is an absolute honor. Even though this year will look a little different than normal, I know that we’re all eager for a night of musical celebration, and this year’s show definitely won’t disappoint!”
The nominations were announced last month. With Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood both nominated for Entertainer of the Year, it marks the first time in 20 years that two women are competing in that category. Lambert tops all CMA Award nominees this year with seven. That brings her career total to 55, fourth place on the all-time list behind George Strait (83), Alan Jackson (81) and Brad Paisley (58).
“We are beyond thrilled to welcome Reba and Darius as this year’s CMA Awards hosts,” CMA CEO Sarah Trahern said in a statement. “Their playful chemistry and genuine warmth are exactly what we know our viewers want to see this year. We look forward to bringing fans a night of celebration, live performances and a television experience unlike any other. We cannot wait to share more details about our show in the coming weeks.”
Next month’s show will also be the first time that the event has been held at Music City Center, which opened in 2013. The CMAs were held at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville every year from 2006-19. The CMAs were first staged in an arena in 2005, when the show was held at Madison Square Garden in New York.