The 2020 CMA Awards are almost here! The show, which is celebrating its 54th year this year, looks a lot different than in years past, due to the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve rounded up everything to know about the show, including performers, presenters, last-minute changes and more.
Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker will co-host together. Although Reba is a veteran at hosting awards shows, the 2020 CMA Awards mark the Hootie & the Blowfish singer’s debut, and he admits he is a bit anxious about taking the stage.
“I was very nervous, ’cause I’ve never done anything like that before,” Darius said on Live With Kelly and Ryan. “And it’s funny because my manager called me and said, ‘Are you sitting down?’ And so my first thought was, ‘Oh, goodness.’”
Luke Combs, Lady A, Rascal Flatts, Gabby Barrett featuring Charlie Puth, Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, Ashley McBryde, Maren Morris, Thomas Rhett with Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott and Chris Tomlin, Jimmie Allen, Ingrid Andress, Dan + Shay with Justin Bieber, Keith Urban, Morgan Wallen, and Chris Stapleton have all been announced as performers for the 2020 CMA Awards. Darius and Reba are also rumored to perform together, although an official announcement has yet to be made.
Carly Pearce will also perform with Charles Kelley, singing the No. 1 hit, “I Hope You’re Happy Now.” She was supposed to perform with Lee Brice, who had to cancel his appearance after he tested positive for COVID-19, with the Lady A singer taking his place for the show.
The presenters of the coveted CMA Awards trophies include Thomas Rhett’s wife, Lauren Akins, Lauren Alaina, Bobby Bones, Charles Esten, Sara Evans, supermodel Taylor Hill, Jake Owen, Patrick Schwarzenegger and gospel artist CeCe Winans.
Miranda Lambert leads the list of nominees with seven nods. Miranda is nominated for Entertainer of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, Musical Event of the Year, for “Fooled Around and Fell in Love,” Album of the Year, for Wildcard, and Song of the Year, Single of the Year and Music Video of the Year, all for “Bluebird.”
Luke Combs follows with six nods, while Maren Morris has five nods, and Dan + Shay, Carly Pearce and producer Jay Joyce have four nods.
Two females are, finally, nominated for Entertainer of the Year. In addition to Miranda, Carrie Underwood is also nominated for the night’s highest honor, along with Luke Combs, Keith Urban and Eric Church.
One artist who is not nominated for any awards is Garth Brooks. After removing himself from the Entertainer of the Year category earlier this year, Garth failed to get a nomination in any other category.
It was first announced that the 2020 CMA Awards will be virtual this year, allowing “essential personnel only.” Although the ceremony remains virtual, artists, presenters and their guests will now all be together in one room, socially-distanced and with COVID-19 safety precautions in place. Guests will reportedly be at tables for two, with each table eight feet apart.
“We are thrilled to have this incredible group of artists taking the stage at the CMA Awards this year! It is a privilege to bring these live performances to our viewing audience with the energy and excitement that the CMA Awards are known for,” Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement.
“And although the show will feel a bit more intimate this year, we look forward to hosting our nominated artists and their guests as we celebrate the best of country music in a fully safe and physically distant environment,” she continued. “It will be an honor to bring the biggest Country stars in the world together – in one room – for the first time this year. You won’t want to miss it!”
2020 has seen the loss of three country music legends: Kenny Rogers, Joe Diffie and Charlie Daniels. Each of the icons will be honored with musical tributes during the 2020 CMA Awards. The show will kick off with a medley of Charlie’s songs, with performances by Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Brothers Osborne, Jenee Fleenor and Ashley McBryde.
Kenny will be honored with a performance by Little Big Town, and Jon Pardi will honor Joe.
Charley Pride will also be honored at the 2020 CMA Awards. The 86-year-old will be the recipient of the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring his pioneering ways in country music, and his ongoing contributions to the genre.
“I don’t know who’s going to present it to him, but I know that I will be standing on the side of the stage watching that with the rest of the world,” Darius told The Tennessean. “I don’t think Charley, still to this day, gets enough credit.”
After years of being held at the Bridgestone Arena, the 2020 CMA Awards will be held at the Music City Center, located across the street from Bridgestone Arena.
How to Watch:
The 2020 CMA Awards will air live on ABC on Wednesday, November 11, at 8:00 PM ET / 7:00 PM CT. It will also air in several other countries, including Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Sweden, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Find international broadcast information here.