Put on your cowboy boots! It’s almost time for country music’s biggest night.
If it’s anything like in past years, the 51st Annual CMA Awards will feature heartwarming performances, comedic sketches from the hosts and exciting award reveals. Here is everything you need to know before Wednesday night.
This year’s CMA Awards hosts came as a surprise to no one: 2017 will be Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood‘s 10th consecutive year hosting the show. In their last nine ceremonies, the hilarious pair have had some unforgettable moments.
There was the 2008 comedic parody “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Kanye,” which Paisley (a 14-time CMA Awards winner) penned, and the 2011 “Tim and Faith Have Barbies” sketch, which was Underwood’s idea. The cohosts prepared for their ‘Gangnam Style’ dance onstage in 2012 with three weeks of practice and coaching from a former Michael Jackson choreographer, they revealed at a CMA Festival event in June.
But perhaps the most iconic bit by the dynamic duo happened in 2014. Paisley took the stage and revealed to the world that five-months-pregnant Underwood would be having a boy: “I’m so happy! I know something y’all don’t know!” Paisley said to the crowd before revealing the baby’s sex.
So what does the duo have in mind for 2017? We’ll have to watch to find out.
This year’s ceremony will feature performances by some of country music’s biggest stars, including Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks, Miranda Lambert, Thomas Rhett, Brothers Osborne, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Little Big Town, Old Dominion, Jon Pardi, Chris Stapleton and Alan Jackson — to name a few.
Jackson is a 2017 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee who has received 81 CMA Awards nominations throughout his career; this year will be his 24th CMA performance.
But beyond those performances, the show will also highlight some exciting collaborations. Reba McEntire — the most nominated female in CMA Awards history — will be paired with her competition for Female Vocalist of the Year: Kelsea Ballerini. The 24-year-old “Yeah Boy” singer is a five-time award nominee, and 62-year-old Reba is a 50-time nominee.
Former One Direction star Niall Horan will make his CMA performance debut with country’s Maren Morris to perform their pop-country crossover song “Going Blind,” which Horan released on his debut solo album, Flicker, last month.
What About the Nominees?
Miranda Lambert is this year’s top nominee with five nods total, and her 11th nomination in the Female Vocalist category, which she has won a record six consecutive times between 2010 and 2015. Lambert has a total of 44 CMA Awards nominations spanning her career and is the most awarded woman in CMA Awards history, nabbing 12 trophies since 2010.
Tying for second-most nominations are Little Big Town and Keith Urban, who each earned four nominations total.
LBT’s include a Single of the Year nod for “Better Man,” Album of the Year for The Breaker, Vocal Group of the Year and their fourth nomination for Music Video. They have been nominated in the past for “Pontoon” (2012), “Tornado” (2013), and “Girl Crush” (2015).
Urban scored nominations for Entertainer of the Year, both Single of the Year and Music Video of the Year for “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” and Male Vocalist — his thirteenth nomination in the category that he won three consecutive times between 2004 and 2006.
Taylor Swift‘s name even appears on the nominee list: The country-turned-pop singer is up for Song of the Year for her songwriting on LBT’s hit “Better Man.”
Who Did NOT Make the Nominee List?
Many were surprised that country star Blake Shelton — five-time Vocalist of The Year and a current coach on The Voice — was not nominated for a single category. Another list absentee is “They Don’t Know” singer Jason Aldean, who recently won Entertainer of the Year at the 2017 American Country Music Awards in April.
Although Lambert has the most nods of any artist, some fans were surprised she did not receive one for the Entertainer of The Year category, which has no female nominees this year.
Read the full list of nominations here.
Who Decides the Winners?
The nominees and winners are chosen by the 6,300 industry professional members of Country Music Association. Established in 1958, CMA was the first trade organization dedicated to a specific genre of music. The first CMA Awards show was held in 1967 and it has since become the longest-running annual music awards program on network television.
How Do I Watch?
This year’s CMA Awards will be held at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. ET. The show will air live on ABC.