NASHVILLE, Tenn., (WKRN) — As with much of 2020, there will be lots of firsts for the 54th Annual CMA Awards Wednesday night.
It’s the first time the awards have been closed to the public, and it’s the first time in 2020 the genre’s biggest names will come together all in one room.
Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker will host the night live from Nashville’s convention center.
“I’m looking forward to it a lot. I’m really humbled by being asked, but yeah I’m real nervous,” Rucker told News 2.
It’s a first for the three-time Grammy Award winner and Grand Ole Opry member to join the CMA awards stage as host, while McEntire returns center stage for her fifth time.
“This is Hootie’s first time to host the CMA Awards, but this is an international superstar. This is nothing new for the guy to be in front of television and millions of people on television, so you are going to be great. We will have a blast,” stated McEntire.
The two are promising an emotional, uplifting night that will no doubt look different. Only the country music family will be allowed inside together.
“It’s going to be very special because of that. It’s going to be different. Also we are going to have round tables where people can sit and watch the show and we are going to have performers, the nominees and Darius and I are ready to get up there and put on a show and have some, a lot of fun,” said McEntire.
The show will kick off with an emotional tribute to the late great Charlie Daniels, with a number of performances to follow. Several collaborations will be performed for the first time in person together due to the pandemic, including “Be a Light.” The song is up for Musical Event of the Year and couldn’t be more fitting for the current state of the country.
“We didn’t get to record it together, so when Thomas Rhett and the rest of us get to sing it on the stage CMA night, that will be the first time we sing it together. It will be fun,” McEntire explained.
The awards celebration will be a glimmer of light itself.
“This will be a night that people can escape for a second, and you know and come and listen to the music, and laugh at the jokes, and watch some emotional acceptance speeches, and stuff. It’s really, music is a great healer it always has been you know and that’s what I hope we are a part. I hope we are part of healing the country,” said Rucker.
The CMA’s will air tonight at 8 p.m. on ABC.