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The 2017 CMA Awards air tonight at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on the ABC network, with Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley as hosts for the tenth year. Tonight, both Underwood and Paisley are each also taking the stage as performers. In fact, Paisley is teaming up with a newcomer named Kane Brown for his set and the two will sing a duet of Paisley’s new single, “Heaven South.” Leading up to their performance, Brown gushed about Paisley to Taste of Country, saying, “It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world. I’m pumped, it’s going to be awesome … He’s a great guy, he really knows how to bring your nerves down and talk to you and just make you feel comfortable.” Taste of Country also reports that Carrie Underwood has been hinting at an unnamed artist joining her in her performance. We will have to wait and see if this goes down tonight.
Another big collaboration tonight is Reba McEntire with Kelsea Ballerini, who appeared on Good Morning America this morning to celebrate early for tonight’s CMA’s. Just Jared Jr. reports that the two stars will be performing Ballerini’s song “Legends” for the show. In an interview with CMT, McEntire talked about her admiration for Ballerini, stating that, “We’ve gotten to meet, and I think she’s a terrific young lady, very talented singer-songwriter, and I love the song … I hope everybody likes our performance as much as I’m going to enjoy getting to sing with her.” Another interesting duet is Maren Morris with former One Direction member Niall Horan and the two will be singing their song “Seeing Blind”. Morris dished on what to expect via ABC Radio, saying that, “It’s gonna be a really fun night. Niall is equally excited — he’s never been to the CMA Awards. We just want to put on the best show, and it’s such a fun upbeat song, so I think we’re gonna blow it out that night.” Another pop star taking the stage at the country show is Pink. And for an opening collaboration number, The Boot reports that there is a line up of performers participating, including Eric Church, Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, Keith Urban, and Kelsea Ballerini.
Other duets tonight include Dierks Bentley with Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw with wife Faith Hill and Dan + Shay with Lauren Alaina. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are currently on their Soul2Soul tour and they are getting ready for their Showtime concert special. The special is set to air on November 17, 2017 and it will include concert performances, interviews and behind-the-scenes footage as well.
As for tonight’s show, megastar Garth Brooks is also gearing up for a performance of his song “Ask Me How I Know”. And, other performers include Thomas Rhett, Old Dominion, Miranda Lambert, Jon Pardi, Little Big Town, Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, Brothers Osborne and Alan Jackson. Just ahead of tonight’s big event, a special look into singer Luke Bryan’s life aired on ABC. In the special, Bryan discussed the personal tragedies he has suffered over the years. At just 19 years old, he lost his older brother in a car crash. Then, his sister Kelly passed away with no explanation seven years later. If that wasn’t enough to endure, his brother-in-law then died of a heart attack in 2014. And so, Bryan and his wife took in his brother-in-law and late sister’s three children. Also, this past February 2017. Bryan’s wife lost her infant niece. So, it’s safe to say that this family has been through a lot of major loss. Tonight, Bryan is up for Entertainer of the Year.