From a Star Wars Spoof to a Naked Selfie: Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood's Best CMA Awards Moments
The dynamic duo is back for an 11th year — and in the past 10, they've brought lots of laughs to the stage
2017: SERIOUS STUFF
Though they mocked the president and a host of other political figures in their traditional monologue, it was the stars’ tributes to the victims of the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting (and several other mass shootings that occured that fall) that were most touching.
Underwood tearfully gave the “in memoriam” performance, which ended with all 58 of the Route 91 victims’ faces. And following the show’s opening — a rendition of “Amazing Grace” performed by Eric Church, followed by Darius Rucker and a slew of stars singing Hootie & the Blowfish’s “Hold My Hand” — Paisley dedicated the show “to all those lost and all those still healing. We love you and we will never forget you.”
2016: TAKING ON TRUMP
Considering the 2016 CMAs aired the same month as Election Day — which would lead to Donald Trump’s shocking win a few days later — the cohosts squeezed in jokes that poked fun at the Republican presidential candidate’s many Trump-isms, with Paisley and Underwood exchanging remarks like, “This show is rigged,” “Only if I win” and “You’re a nasty woman.”
2015: A STAR WARS SPOOF
With the new Star Wars movie premiere only a month away, the duo spoofed the series, with Underwood dressed as Leia: “Guitar Solo I need you, you’re our only hope!” she called to Paisley. Dressed as the captain of the Millennium Falcon, her co-host greeted her: “Oh hey Carrie Fisher, nice buns.” The pair had to break the news that their Star Wars opening had been cut to the all-star cast of characters — including Darius Rucker as a Stormtrooper and Luke Bryan as Garth Vader (“Garth [Brooks] wanted to be Chewbacca,” Luke explained of the last-minute switch).
2015: BARING DOWN
“We’re both willing to look stupid,” Underwood has said of the lengths the pair will go to for laughs. One example: Paisley dropped his pants and revealed his plaid boxers in an attempt at a (semi!) naked host selfie in 2015.
2015: THE MUPPETS TAKE ... NASHVILLE?
The co-hosts have managed to navigate tricky waters with humor. After Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert ended their marriage, Underwood told the crowd, “We can’t ignore the breakup that really rocked out world, the one that’s on everybody’s mind. Two people in this very room whom we all know and love … splitsville.” Paisley continued: “Look they’re not even sitting together.” And the camera panned to … Miss Piggy and Kermit. “On a completely unrelated topic, Howdy Blake!” And, right on cue, a shot of Shelton laughing.
2014: BRAD SPILLS CARRIE'S BABY SECRET
A visibly pregnant Underwood took the stage with Paisley in 2014, and her co-host pestered her to tell him whether she was having a boy or girl. After she whispered the news into his ear, he beamed: “I’m so happy! I know something y’all don’t know! Suck it TMZ!” And then, minutes later, when Carrie pointed out that Garth Brooks was at the show that night and asked, “Do you think he’ll sign my baby?” Brad replied, “Yeah, that would be great! Hey we could name him Garth!” And then …”Oh, dammit!” Carrie reacted in mock anger: “What is wrong with you?”
2013: BRAD BLURS LINES
“You look like a referee that’s going to prom,” Underwood teased her co-host as he donned a take on Robin Thicke’s striped “Blurred Lines” suit. “They have a great time together and that’s contagious,” CMA Awards writer David Wild told PEOPLE of the pair in 2012.
2013: OVER OBAMACARE
Amid a controversial start to the Affordable Care Act, the two took on Obamacare. After Paisley ‘twerked’ his back. Underwood asked him if he had Obamacare. “Obamacare, What’s that?” he said. She replied: “It’s great! I started signing up last Thursday and I’m almost done!” Then the pair launched into their spoof of George Strait’s song, “Amarillo by Morning,” singing, “Obamacare by morning/Why’s this takin’ so long?”
2012: GANGNAM STYLE!
In 2012, the country was struck with Gangnam fever and Paisley wasn’t immune. “Oh no, Carrie,” he told his co-host as the opening notes of the dance tune played. “It’s happening!” Underwood urged him, “Just say no!” but Paisley pulled out sunglasses and as the song kicked up, he began the Gangnam gallop and before long, Underwood finally joined in. “There’s a lot of trust between us,” Paisley told Southern Living. “That’s key when you’re standing out there on that tightrope. More than that, what makes a great balance is she has such grace, and I don’t.”
2011: A SPECIAL SURPRISE
Some of the pair’s finest moments are their song spoofs, like their take on Hank Williams Jr.’s “Family Tradition.” Williams had given an interview disparaging President Obama and the pair had a ball taking it on. “Why do you drink — before an interview?” Underwood began. “Stop and think it over/let me help you get the picture/ You can get drunk and start carrying on/ but you can’t compare the president to Hitler,” they sang, as Hank Jr. himself walked up behind them.
2011: BARBIE BASH
In their fourth year hosting, the two decided to exchange gifts on stage. “Faith Hill Barbie! OMG!” Underwood squealed, unwrapping hers, while Paisley clutched his own doll and, jumping up and down, yelled, “Tim McGraw Barbie! Tim McGraw Barbie!” Can we play with these now?” After a hilarious bit in which the pair had the dolls make out — in front of their real-life models in the front row — they checked to see if they were anatomically correct. Examining Tim, Paisley remarked, “There’s nothing there! Poor Faith!” Hill, meanwhile, played along gamely, mouthing “I know!” as the camera turned to her.
2008: TAKING ON KANYE
The pair showed off their impressive hosting skills from their very first show, opening the night with one of their now-famous song parodies. As they spoofed “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” the joke was on Kanye West, who earlier in the year had famously interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards. “Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be Kanye/ Let ’em pick guitars and drive them old trucks/Cowboys have manners — they don’t interrupt.”