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Carrie Underwood on Her First-Ever CMA Awards: 'I Felt Really Good That Night'

Updated

Peter Kramer/Getty
Peter Kramer/Getty

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the CMA Awards and the 9th time Carrie Underwood will be co-hosting the event alongside Brad Paisley. But despite all the duets and countless outfit changes through the years, the singer’s first CMA red carpet is still her most memorable.

“We’d been touring with American Idol and I had just kinda started my fitness journey, and I felt really good about myself that night,” she tells PeopleStyle exclusively of the 2005 CMAs. “I picked a dress, and there wasn’t anything crazy or flashy about it. It was just red and simple and elegant and beautiful, and that’s how I felt.”

Underwood adds that since then her style has evolved, and she’s completely embraced the country fashion flair.

“I love sequins, I love rhinestones, I love big hair, I love eyeliner,” she shares. “I just love feeling good. Go big or go home.”

RELATED PHOTOS: Carrie Underwood’s Most Memorable CMA Outfits

She adds that she feels more confident in her style decisions now that she’s in her ’30s

“I am more comfortable with myself, so I know what I like to wear,” she says. “I make more decisions for myself instead of necessarily relying on somebody else like a stylist helping me. Of course I have incredible stylists, but just being able to know what I like and to know what I feel good in. I feel like I’m better at that.”

• Who should win at #CMAawards50? Record a video with your vote at burst.com/CMA50Live to be featured on PEOPLE and EW’s red carpet LIVE show, airing Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 5:30 p.m. ETon our homepages or the newPeople/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to PEOPLE.com/PEN, or download the PEN app on Apple TV, Roku Players, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, Chromecast, iOS and Android devices.

People Special Edition 50 years of the CMA Awards – Cover
  • PEOPLE’s Special Edition 50 Years of the CMA Awards is on sale now.