Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood Talk Hosting 2014 CMA Awards
Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood are gearing up to host the 48th CMA Awards on Nov. 5, their seventh time hosting the show together. The pair have been preparing for their roles for months, filming promos and worrying about what jokes they'll be telling.
"There's tragedies-and-a-half, but nothing I can make fun of yet," Paisley tells the Tennessean. "I'll just do something funny myself. I'll fall on the sword."
Despite his valiant offer, it looks like this year, Paisley won't have to worry about the sword. A few weeks after he made that comment, Underwood announced that she's pregnant with her first child with her husband Mike Fisher.
"Carrie once again provided a huge spark for us by getting knocked up," says the show's head writer, David Wild, who refers to Underwood as "the smart one" and Paisley as the one "who takes it too far." "She gave us the greatest baby gift of all and … so I think [the content] will be a balance of how much we want to go there versus what she'll put up with."
Robert Deaton, the show's executive producer, likens Paisley and Underwood to Sonny and Cher, a reference that it took a little while for Paisley to warm up to six years ago.
"Over the years, Brad was like, 'Oh, I get it. I'm the idiot,'" Wild says. "You've heard of fake it 'til you make it? We sort of created it."
The hosts help make up the core writing team for the show, along with Deaton and Wild, and as Nov. 5 approaches, the team will be talking every day about what jokes and content to include.
Looking back on their first shows, the duo can tell they hadn't quite hit their stride, and Underwood says she was happy that they were even asked back.
"It wasn't bad," Paisley adds. "It just wasn't what we are now. We're not the type to give up until we figure it out."
And they have their formula pretty well figured out, knowing which of their fellow country stars they can count on to take a joke (Luke Bryan, Zac Brown, Tim McGraw, George Strait) and which might take it too far, like Keith Urban continuing a sexting joke that Paisley made for the rest of the night.
"I kept getting lewd sexts from Keith Urban," Paisley says. "He kept saying, 'What time? Where are we going? Hey sexy, what's up?' Just being goofy."
After their work together on stage, both artists try to stay away from reading reviews online, focusing instead on how the live audience reacts to their work.
"Did we tear the room apart?" Paisley says. "Did they go nuts? I know that we really want that to be something that, at the end of the year, you point to as something that was something done right. It's good for country music. I love it when somebody says, 'You guys did as well as anyone on TV as far as that kind of role.'"
The 2014 CMA Awards will air live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 5 at 8 PM ET on ABC.