By Tribune Staff

The annual Country Music Association Awards show is among the year’s biggest events, one where hosting honors are taken quite seriously. It was announced Monday that this year’s program, the 53rd edition, will have some returning hosts and a surprise twist. It’s a “Queens of country music” theme as longtime host Carrie Underwood is being joined by “special guest hosts” Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton. The night’s designed to honor and celebrate not only these but other legendary women who’ve changed the course of country music.

Brad Paisley had served as co-host since 2008, but is stepping aside for this occasion. Both McEntire and Parton have previously served as hosts. For Parton, it’s her first time hosting the CMAs since 1998. McEntire was a host from 1990-92. Both also have won numerous CMA awards, a combined total of 22. McEntire and Parton sent out separate tweets Monday proclaiming their delight and excitement at joining Underwood for this year’s awards show. 

The timing is also ideal as Underwood is currently promoting her new album and headlining the Cry Pretty 360 tour. All the tour’s opening acts are women, among them Maddie & Tae. For anyone concerned about  Paisley’s response to being temporarily displaced as host, he tweeted Monday that “as a fan of all three of these amazing women, “I can’t wait to watch.” Underwood has now hosted the show 12 straight years, extending a record she broke last year. Vince Gill previously hosted 10 consecutive shows from 1994 to 2003. This year marks the 24th time in 53 years at least one woman appeared as a host of the CMA Awards.  Other women hosts include Bobbie Gentry, who co-hosted the inaugural event in 1967,  Dale Evans (1968), Barbara Mandrell (1980-1982), and Anne Murray (1983, 1985, 1989).

Nominees for the 2019 CMA Awards will be announced on Aug. 28. The show will air live from Bridgestone Arena Nov. 13 on ABC (locally WKRN-2) at 7 p.m.