Luke Bryan is gearing up to host the 2021 CMA Awards, and he says he is “excited” about it.
Days ahead of the show, Bryan noted that being a judge on American Idol, being on camera in front of millions on live TV prepared him well for the job, however, he also acknowledged that being a judge on Idol and a host at the CMAs are two completely different things.
“Being in front of the TV a lot with American Idol has gotten me more comfortable with the role of doing these things. I’m excited to be in the role and be confident in the role,” he explains. “You don’t ever want to be out there, and you’re so nervous and freaked out that you can’t do a great job, which I’ll still be nervous and freaked out.”
Through Idol Bryan was introduced to Gabby Barrett, who finished third on Season 16 of Idol, and went on to become a country superstar with two consecutive No. 1 hits and awards nominations and wins at country and all genre award shows.
In a video shared by ABC, Bryan praised Barrett’s growth and success since her Idol audition ahead of tomorrow night’s 2021 CMA Awards.
“I had a lot of clarity in Gabby’s [‘American Idol‘] audition. I thought she was incredible from the start,” Bryan admitted.
He continued to say, “I thought that she was amazing throughout the whole process and I always really loved the way she used her voice. She’s a powerhouse singer.”
Bryan then admitted that what he loved most was not only her remarkable vocal abilities but also Barrett’s determination, “when ‘American Idol’ got finished, she moved straight to Nashville and went to work. And she didn’t let any grass grow, if you know what I mean. She really took her career and took the reigns of it and to be a four-time nominee from the world getting to meet her on Idol to present day is something Gabby Barrett should hold her head high about because she earned every second of it.”
Previously, Bryan recalled when Barrett competed on the show during an episode of his Apple Music Party Barn Radio show earlier this year. While speaking about being a judge on Idol, Bryan said “nothing is more fun than being in the room when a star is born.”
“I mean, you got to go through hundreds of people to find that star,” Bryan continued.
The “Down To One” singer and Idol judge then remembered when Barrett competed on the show.
“It’s just like when Gabby Barrett walked into ‘American Idol’,” Bryan explained. “She didn’t win ‘American Idol’, but even I just said, there was just something magical about that… I know you’ve seen that stuff too, and that’s what brings you back.”
“We inadvertently compete against each other… But telling the stories of the kids and me sitting up there, I remember when I took the role of Idol, I’m like, ‘Man, there, ain’t no way I’m going to be boohooing and crying and emotional,’ but it is emotional, and it is amazing to watch kids put their lives on the line,” Bryan added.
Barrett is the most nominated female at the 55th Annual CMA Awards, with 4 nominations, including Female Vocalist of the Year, New Artist of the Year, Single of the Year and Song of the Year for “The Good Ones.”
Bryan will make history at the 2021 CMA Awards as the first solo host in 15-years, since Vince Gill hosted from 1994-2003. It will also mark Bryan’s first-time ever hosting the CMAs.
The 55th Annual CMA Awards will also feature performances from Bryan and Barrett in addition to Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood, Jimmie Allen, Dierks Bentley feat. BRELAND and HARDY, Brothers Osborne, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Dan + Shay, Mickey Guyton featuring Brittney Spencer and Madeline Edwards, Jennifer Hudson, Miranda Lambert, Old Dominion, Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton, Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban, Chris Young and Kane Brown, and Zac Brown Band.
Additionally, the star-studded awards ceremony will feature dozens of presenters, including Trace Adkins, Ingrid Andress, Kelsea Ballerini, Deana Carter, Lauren Daigle, Russell Dickerson, Faith Fennidy, Florida Georgia Line, Freddie Freeman, Amy Grant, Dulé Hill, Alan Jackson, Elle King, Lady A, Zachary Levi, Scotty McCreery, Hayley Orrantia, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, Darius Rucker, Susan Sarandon, Saycon Sengbloh, Kurt Warner, Lainey Wilson, and Trisha Yearwood.
The star-studded show is set to broadcast live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 10 beginning at 8/7c on ABC.