Carrie Underwood Shares Her ’40-Second’ CMA Quick Change Secrets

Carrie Underwood may always come onto the CMA stage looking flawless, but it takes a lot to make those changes behind the scenes.

Written by Kelly Brickey
Carrie Underwood Shares Her ’40-Second’ CMA Quick Change Secrets
Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood; Photo courtesy Country Music Association

Carrie Underwood reigns supreme as the best costume changer in country music, but it takes more than a bit of Hollywood magic to get her in the right outfit at the right time during the CMA Awards.

While the fit country singer has no qualms shimmying into each dress, it’s the countdown of live television that puts the pressure on Underwood and her team to throw her outfit on in a matter of no time at all. Especially when the Oklahoma native decides to wear a handful of sparkly shifts, Underwood and the crew arrange for as much time as they can to outfit her perfectly without a hitch or a stitch.

“When we get the running order of the show, we’re like, ‘Okay these are complicated so we’re gonna need more time,’ so we try to just plan where things that might need a little more time get a little more time,” she explains. “And there are easy changes, like, ‘Oh, we have five minutes, that’s a lifetime in TV-quick-change world. We make the time count,” Underwood told People about her ensembles.

Underwood has become quite the pro at the quick-change flow; in fact, her backstage record clocks in at a mere 40 seconds. But the CMA co-host let even her dress issues in that instance stand aside and kept her cool while her frock couldn’t keep it together.

“That 40-second quick change we tried in rehearsal because it was such a fast change, and I run backstage and someone holds a sheet up and I busted a zipper in rehearsal. And everybody was worried I was not going to make it back out for the actual show and I was like, ‘It’s okay, we’ll fix the zipper.’ The zipper was one of those little hidden, flimsy plastic zippers. So they trusted me and we made it work. But during the entire run-through I had to hold the back of my dress shut,” she revealed.

This year, Underwood is expected to show off a number of gorgeous designs, but fans will have to tune in and see what sort of fashion shenanigans she gets into throughout the evening’s events.

The 51st Annual CMA Awards, hosted by Underwood and Brad Paisley, air Wednesday, November 8, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.