Set to make his CMA-hosting debut when the cameras roll on November 10, Bryan announced the news on Monday (October 18) — and said he knows he’s in for a challenge.
“Being asked to host the CMA Awards was definitely something I put a lot of thought into before answering,” Bryan announced. “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.”
“[Luke’s] fun and playful energy is something television viewers have welcomed into their homes week after week as a judge on American Idol, and I know he has something exciting up his sleeve for the CMA Awards,” added Country Music Association CEO, Sarah Trahern.
The CMA Awards will return to its traditional location and format for the 55th annual broadcast, welcoming the genre’s biggest stars and a live audience to Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on November 10 at 8/7 c on ABC.
In recent weeks, rumors have swirled about who would host the show. The previous two years were hosted by a rotating cast of Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker — who emceed the pandemic-impacted 2020 show — and McEntire, Dolly Parton and Carrie Underwood — who led the 2019 program. That followed eleven straight years with Underwood and Brad Paisley running the show, but McEntire had already confirmed she would not be hosting in 2021.
Luke Bryan may be taking the reins for the first time, but as Trahern noted, the two-time CMA Entertainer of the Year is hardly new to TV. Bryan is currently in his fifth year as a judge on another ABC favorite, American Idol, which will likely premiere a new season in early 2022.
Nominees for the 2021 CMA Awards were announced in September, with defending Entertainer of the Year, Eric Church, and Chris Stapleton leading the field, scoring five nominations each. Performers and presenters will be announced in the coming weeks.