Inside the CMA Awards with Carrie Underwood

The country star talks about the CMAs, Paisley, and Snapchat.  

Alanna Nash
Carrie Underwood CMA Awards
David McClister
 
As her dog barked in the background (“I’m sorry! If it’s not my kid screamin’, it’s my dog barkin’!”), Carrie Underwood talked with Southern Living about what we might expect at this year’s CMA awards, and how she’s technologically challenged.
 
Q: What does hosting these awards mean to you to?
A: It’s an honor. And it’s an honor to get to stand up there with Brad. It’s also really cool that they’ve trusted us with this for nine years. There are a lot of expectations, but I think we’re up for it. We just hope we do our genre proud by being the faces of the award show.
 
Q: As a kid you must have watched these.
A: Oh, yes. As a kid you just remember the glamour and the big hair and the dresses and the performances. I remember attending my first CMA Awards. I kept thinking, “How am I here?” And I watched Vince Gill host for so many years. For us to be on that side of it now is pretty mind-blowing. I stop every once in a while and think, “I can’t believe this is my life! This is weird and awesome!” (Laugh) It’s just incredible how much has happened in the past 11 years.
 
Q: What will you wear this year?
A: Oh, Lordy, I have no idea! I’m sure I’ll feel good, which is the point.
 
Q: Your executive producer refers to you and Brad as the Sonny & Cher of country music.
A: (Laugh) All right, sure. I would take Cher comparisons any way I could get them, even though that would be hard to do. (Laugh) But I’m down for that.
 
Q: The monologue is a good balance of the serious and the silly.
A: Yeah. You just never know what the year is going to hold. Sometimes we get serious topics to address, and sometimes we get things like “Gundam Style.”
 
Q: We think of you as being shy, so I’m surprised that you enjoy this.
A: Well, I love a challenge. I definitely wouldn’t consider myself to be an outgoing person. I sit back and I analyze. But I love performing and being on stage. And it works because I have Brad to work with. If there was another person up there that had my exact personality, I don’t think it would work at all.
 
Q: Why do the awards matter?
A: More than anything, they are a celebration of the past year in country music. This year, we’ll look back on 50 years. That’s a lot of ground to cover, and a lot of incredible artists who have made country music what it is. I love those moments when the legends that you haven’t seen in a while get up there and show us all what it’s about and how it’s done.
 
Q: Any personal favorites you’d like to bring back?
A: I grew up in the era of Alan Jackson, George Strait, and Garth Brooks, so I love it when those guys get up on stage. And when Hank Williams, Jr. came out on stage with us, you could just feel the room elevate.
 
Q: Where do you think we are now in country music?
A: With people buying fewer albums, there’s more to take into consideration, and it’s more important than ever to use the different social media. I don’t Snapchat, and for some reason, I always feel like my mom when I’m trying to work an iPhone. And I’m only 33 years old! (Laugh) It’s changed so much since I’ve been on the scene, so it’ll be interesting to see where we go next in the entertainment business.
 
Go behind the scenes on the Southern Living photo shoot and find out what's planned for the 50th celebration.