— -- As Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood prepare to helm the CMA Awards for the eighth year in a row, they’re happy to say their initial nerves about taking on country music’s highest-profile hosting gig have subsided somewhat.
“There are butterflies ‘cause this is out of our comfort zone, but we usually are ready when we go out there, although one year we weren’t at all,” Paisley revealed.
“But we still did,” Underwood interjected.
“And ended up being fine. But we didn’t feel ready that year and that was a scary thing 'cause I thought none of you would talk to us ever again when we were done,” he added.
After a year that’s seen country music have more than its share of high-profile breakups, Paisley admitted it’s more important than ever to walk the line between being funny while not going too far.
“It’s kind of an exercise in empathy, which I lack,” he joked. “It is an exercise in sort of putting yourself in that person’s position ... and then you weigh the pros and cons of how funny it is versus how damaging it could be and we never want to damage anybody’s reputation or make them feel awkward, but at the same time we don’t want to avoid things that are good humor.”
“I will say it’s very admirable that Blake went on Seth Myers and said ‘Bring it!’ So we will!" he said. "He and I have had a few little conversations here and there. He’s not someone who’s concerned at all, quite honestly. It’s really refreshing."
The 49th annual CMA Awards kick off Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on ABC.