After nearly two decades of co-hosts, the CMA Awards are putting its 2021 show in the hands of a single artist: Luke Bryan will host the November 10th awards live from Nashville. Bryan takes over for last year’s emcee duo of Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker.
“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,” Bryan said in a statement, going on to cite past hosts like McEntire, Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Rogers, Barbara Mandrell, Vince Gill, and the long-running duo of Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood. “I am honored to have my name included in this group. I’m looking forward to making it fun and memorable and using this platform to continue to make Country Music shine.”
Vince Gill was the last solo host of the CMA Awards, capping off a 10-year hosting run in 2003. Brooks & Dunn took over in 2004 and hosted the CMAs’ move to New York City in 2005, before Paisley and Underwood began their 11-year stint in 2008. Underwood returned in 2019 to co-host with McEntire and Dolly Parton.
While the show will mark Bryan’s CMA Awards hosting debut, he has emceed the awards show of rival organization the Academy of Country Music, opposite co-hosts like Blake Shelton and Dierks Bentley.
The 55th annual CMA Awards return to Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena after a scaled-down pandemic production in 2020 at the neighboring Music City Center. Unlike last year, this CMAs will feature a limited live audience that must be fully vaccinated and wear a mask to attend. The performers and presenters, however, are considered members of the production crew, who are required by SAG-AFTRA’s Return to Work Agreement to undergo regular testing but not required to be vaccinated.
Eric Church and Chris Stapleton are tied for the most nominations with five each. Brothers Osborne, Ashley McBryde, Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Maren Morris, Chris Young, and Miranda Lambert all picked up three nominations apiece.