The news arrives shortly after an announcement that Blake Shelton, who began co-hosting the awards show in 2011, will be stepping down from his post. In a teaser video, Bryan laments his temporary position as the ACMs’ only host.
“I really need a new co-host for the ACM Awards,” he says in the clip, which shows a bummed-out Bryan sitting at the bar of Nashville honky-tonk the Stage, looking to drown his sorrows in a pint glass. While an unseen bartender grabs him a beer, Bryan lists the qualifications for a perfect emcee partner. “Somebody that loves country music,” he begins. “Somebody that I’m a little better looking than, kinda like last year.”
The bartender passes him a beer, advising Bryan to “tip that on back.” If the voice sounds curiously like Bentley’s rasp, it’s because the bartender is Bentley, whose “Tip It on Back” became a Top Five single in 2012. Bentley also pops up in his “Drunk on a Plane” pilot character and, most memorably, as the lead singer of his Nineties country tribute band, Hot Country Knights (watch the video below). Today, Bentley’s co-hosting gig was officially anounced, with the upcoming ACM Awards marking the first time he’s ever hosted a live TV event.
Returning to its usual home of the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, the 2016 ACM Awards will air live on CBS on April 3rd. Last year’s 50th anniversary of the awards originated from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.