The superstars plan to rehearse for the November show – and coordinate wardrobes

By Kay West and Stephen M. Silverman
Updated August 25, 2009 04:00 PM
Credit: Todd Williamson/FilmMagic; Jen Lowery/Startraks

Who better to host this year’s Country Music Association’s CMA Awards than last year’s Male and Female Vocalist of the Year winners – who also served as the 2008 ceremony’s emcees – Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood.

“Last time,” remembers Paisley, “it was pretty late notice when we got word we were doing it, so we didn’t necessarily prepare the same way then as we will this time. This time we have more advance time.”

ABC will air this year’s ceremony live from Nashville on Wednesday, Nov. 11.

And the two certainly have the pedigrees to oversee the big night. With his album American Saturday Night currently in release, Paisley has 11 CMA Awards to his name, since winning the Horizon Award in 2000. Underwood, whose third album drops Nov. 3, won her Horizon Award in 2006 and can claim a total of five CMA trophies so far.

“I thought we did a good job,” Underwood says about last year’s show. “I wasn’t nervous about being asked back. But I was hoping they would ask us.” Adds Paisley: “I figured if they wanted us back they’d ask and if not, we’d get to sit and watch somebody else go through it.”

As for revving up for this year’s ceremony, Underwood says, “October we’ll start going through things, figure out dates.” Says he: “But you get the script and read through it. Re-writes happen, you contribute things, they contribute things. You’re doing that all the way up to about 10 minutes before – and then you go on!”

On that point, Underwood agrees. “Yeah, you’re standing on the wings or in your dressing room and they hand you a couple pages and say, ‘Here’s the latest re-write on that part.’ ”

What they will prepare is their wardrobe. “What if we color coordinate this year? Like for prom?” Underwood asked Paisley. “If I wear a red dress, you can wear a red vest or a red bowtie?”

“Deal!” he says. “If I wear a tie, I will match it to whatever you’re wearing.”