Jon Pardi lights up talking about his upcoming Joe Diffie tribute at the 2020 CMA Awards like you'd expect a man to light up talking about winning the Entertainer of the Year award.

As long as there are no technical issues, it should be an easy night for Pardi, who is also nominated in the Album of the Year category.

“Gonna sing a badass song from an awesome artist that I grew up listening to. Dang! That’s easy," Pardi tells Taste of Country Nights. "That’s like honky-tonkin’ we talking about. That’s an exciting performance."

Diffie died at age 61 in March, after a short battle with the novel coronavirus.

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Before moving to Nashville and finding success with songs from his Write You a Song album (2014), the 35-year-old Pardi played clubs and honky-tonks in California. However, he compares this performance to performing for tips along Lower Broadway institutions like Tootsies Orchid Lounge.

"That's like being downtown Nashville, being up there, 'Oh, you wanna hear "Pickup Man"? Alright, $100 in the [tip] box,'" he says.

Come to think of it, a tip jar isn't a bad idea.

"Hell yeah, I’m gonna bring a tip jar out there," Pardi says of the CMAs, presumably joking. "Like, 'Luke — Luke Bryan, pass this around, man.'"

Pardi's Diffie tribute is one of three honoring country artists who died in 2020. In addition, Little Big Town will tribute Kenny Rogers, and a collection of stars led by Jason Aldean will remember Charlie Daniels. There are more than 20 performances announced for the 2020 CMA Awards, which begin at 8PM ET on Wednesday night (Nov. 11).

The Boot will be staying up late covering the most buzzed-about winners, fashion and moments at the 2020 CMA Awards. Readers can watch along with us by checking back to for the latest CMAs headlines, liking The Boot on Facebook and following The Boot on Twitter.

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