The Country Music Association and ABC announced on Monday that the “American Idol” judge will host the show for the first time when it airs from Nashville, Tennessee on Nov. 10.
“The CMA Awards is one of the biggest nights of the year for country music,” Bryan, 45, said in a statement. “Being asked to host the CMA Awards was definitely something I put a lot of thought into before answering. The pressure that comes along with that can be overwhelming, but knowing I get to help honor and celebrate so many of my friends, I knew it was something I couldn’t turn down.”
In addition to being the host, the Georgia-born singer is nominated in 2021 for is nominated this year along with Jordan Davis for musical event of the year. He has previously won CMA entertainer of the year twice in the past, making him a seasoned CMA winner. Now, he’ll simply be expanding his role with the show as host.
While this is his first time as a CMA Awards headliner, Bryan has plenty of experience after being a co-host for several years at the Academy of Country Music Awards, which are normally held in Las Vegas.
It’s been a long time since CMAs have had a single host. Co-hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley had a 10-year run together starting in 2008. In 2019, Underwood returned as co-host with Reba McEntire. Last year, the show changed things up even further by having Dolly Parton and McEntire host alongside Darius Rucker.
This year’s show sparked a bit of controversy when it was announced that country singer Morgan Wallen would be eligible for some awards, but not the show’s top honors. After a controversy involving his use of a racial slur, Wallen will not be eligible for individual artist categories, such as entertainer of the year and male vocalist of the year, according to Catharine McNelly, a CMA spokeswoman.
Bryan showed some support for Wallen in August after the embattled singer surprised him on stage at a Nashville, Tenn. performance.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.