CMA Awards 2016: How Hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood Are Preparing

PHOTO: Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood speak during the 49th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 4, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. PlayTaylor Hill/Getty Images
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For the ninth time in a row, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood are set to take the reins tonight for country music’s biggest night.

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But this year is no ordinary installment of the show -- it’s the half-century anniversary of the CMA Awards, so it’s a job both Paisley and Underwood say they take very seriously.

“We're tasked with 50 years of retrospective and that's a big task,” Paisley said. “Because you think back to the incredible performances over the years and we have to relive a few of those, and at the same time, we have to include all of the legends we can possibly include that are still around. It's a balancing act, but however it ends up coming off on Wednesday, just know that we've had a lot of discussions about this and how you pay respects. So our attempt is to be so totally respectful of our format and of our history.”

Underwood agreed, and echoed her co-host's desire to pave the way for an incredible night that goes down in country music history.

“From the get-go, we just wanted this show to feel different, and to just be elevated,” the entertainer of the year nominee said. “Normally, we have the task of celebrating a year in country music. I feel like this year, we are celebrating 50 years of country music, and that's a big deal, trying to figure out ways to just work different people in and have people there and acknowledge accomplishments for 50 years' worth of incredible music. We've had and still have a long road ahead of us!”

The celebration of the CMA Awards’ golden anniversary kicks off at 8 p.m. ET tonight, live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on ABC.

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