While Underwood and Paisley will be co-hosting the CMA Awards on Nov. 1 for the fifth consecutive year, upstarts Bryan and Perry (lead singer of Band Perry) are hoping their debut as co-hosts of Country’s Night to Rock – which airs Monday night at 8 p.m. ET on ABC – will leave a lasting impression.
“I wasn’t really sure what hosts were supposed to do,” Perry tells PEOPLE. “But I have studied Carrie and Brad – they are such pros. And my brothers [bandmates Reid and Neil] let me practice with them on the bus. Neil actually does a great Luke Bryan imitation, so that helped!”
Country’s Night to Rock recaps the CMA’s 2012 Music Fest, which took place June 7-10 in Nashville. Musical performers include Eric Church, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Paisley, Underwood, Little Big Town, newly announced American Idol judge Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton and Faith Hill.
Bryan and Perry also snagged interview time with their peers – with Perry finding herself in the hot seat when Shelton came close to over-sharing. “Blake and I talked about Miranda’s smokin’ hot leather outfit that she wore to perform in,” she recalled. “He said it reminded him of Xena, and that he had always wanted to be with Xena. He was getting a funny look in his eye so I had to cut him off.”
Band Perry has been on Paisley’s Virtual Reality tour since January, so Kimberly has had a chance to observe the master up close and personal. “It’s like hosting a good party. You have to know how the night is going to roll out. You have to have personality but not be annoying.”
Bryan is confident they have what it takes. “I’d call our style a late night version of Regis and Kelly,” he says. “We’ve got some chemistry. We might be giving Carrie and Brad a run for the money.”