Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley will team up for the 11th time to host the 52nd Annual CMA Awards. In more than a decade as co-hosts and even longer as friends, they have shared countless moments onstage ranging from the humorous to the heartfelt. To celebrate, we're looking back on the singers' sweetest moments through the years.
In 2008, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood both agreed to host the CMA Awards. It turns out, they didn't even need to consult on it; each felt so comfortable with the other's sense of humor that they had no qualms about signing on, reported. That leap of faith worked in their favor, as this partnership has continued for more than a decade.
Since day one, Brad and Carrie have been deeply involved in the writing of their skits and parodies. As their professional relationship has grown over the years, they have learned which stars can laugh at themselves. For example, Blake Shelton's usually a good sport.
When Carrie claimed she was feeling under the weather, Brad came up with a cure: The two broke into a song about Swine Flu to the tune of LeAnn Rimes's “Blue.”
Carrie and Brad always try to create jokes that will make the audience laugh, while also tying in key moments from popular culture. The year that Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards, the hosts poked fun with a parody ("Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Kanye"). Later on, Little Jimmy Dickens cut Brad off to recognize T-Swift for her music video.
In addition to hosting the show, Carrie also performed "Cowboy Casanova." Brad gave her a warm introduction and cheered her on offstage.
During the 2010 , the co-hosts took the stage with country music superstar Keith Urban to perform Carrie's hit "Songs Like This" from her album Play On. The high-energy number featured Brad on electric guitar and Keith jumping in on banjo.
Onstage, Brad and Carrie always have each other’s back. This proved to be true at the 2010when Brad jokingly confused Lady A (Lady Antebellum) for Lady Gaga, singing short snippets of the latter's "Paparazzi" and "Alejandro." Luckily, his other half was there to save the day.
The internet was buzzing in 2010 about the uncanny resemblance between Brad and NASCAR champ Jeff Gordon. So, at the CMAs, Brad's doppelgänger joined the co-hosts onstage for a couple of laughs.
At the 2011 , Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet
helped the hosts sneak in some jabs at celebrities with short relationships, from Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber to Taylor Swift.
In 2011, Brad and Carrie celebrated their fourth anniversary of co-hosting the show together. To commemorate the occasion, they exchanged gifts: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw Barbies, of course!
That same year, they also rocked out with their duet,
While spoofing "Family Tradition," Hank Williams Jr. himself appeared behind Brad and Carrie, and was priceless.
Witty banter isn't Brad and Carrie's only secret to stealing the show. Year after year, Brad's suits and signature cowboy hats complement Carrie's gowns perfectly.
One of the cutest (and most viral) moments of the 2012 CMA Awards was when Brad and Carrie went all out on of the then-popular "Gangnam Style" dance.
After five years of hosting together, Brad and Carrie’s comedic chemistry onstage was clear. No one was safe from their quick-witted (yet lighthearted) quips—not even Taylor Swift. The hosts joked that she and Conor Kennedy were "never ever getting back together."
Carrie and Brad began the 2013 with playful banter, pretending to fight like siblings and then segueing into a song about celebrity feuds. “Why can’t we be friends?” they asked the audience, calling out the drama of the year. They even had Kellie Pickler hand out "feuding assignments."
The best part about Brad and Carrie hosting the together is that it always looks like that they’re genuinely having fun. In 2013, Brad came out wearing a take on Robin Thicke’s striped “Blurred Lines” suit, prompting the latter to say that he looked “like a referee that’s going to prom.”
During the 2013 , Brad complained that he "twerked" his back, and Carrie set him straight on the true meaning of the term. What followed was a jab at America's health care system (they turned George Strait's "Amarillo By Morning" into “Obamacare by Morning") which helped ease a bit more than just the muscle tension in the audience.
At the 2014 ceremony, Carrie was expecting her first child, Isaiah Michael Fisher. Throughout the show, fans were buzzing with excitement about the singer's pregnancy, and Carrie dressed her baby bump in fabulous looks.
While this made our list of the most awkward moments in CMA Awards history, it was also one of the most endearing. During their opening monologue, then-pregnant Carrie whispered her baby's gender into Brad's ear. Later, while discussing Garth Brooks, Brad blurted out, "You could name him Garth," letting the world know that the singer was, indeed, having a boy.
At the 2014 CMA Awards, the legendary Steven Tyler from Aerosmith accompanied the co-hosts onstage and claimed that "country is the new rock 'n' roll." To prove it, the trio tackled an impromptu country cover of his classic "Cryin'."
In 2015, the entire country music community was mourning the loss of Grand Ole Opry star Little Jimmy Dickens, who died at age 94. The night's heartfelt tribute to the star featured some of Dickens’s best CMA Awards moments over the years.
"In one of my last conversations with Jimmy, he told me that his final wish was to leave this world making people laugh onstage," Brad shared, "and so, we brought him here tonight." An urn appeared, and Brad reached inside and pulled out another, smaller urn, causing the crowd to erupt into laughter and applause.
"One last laugh," said Carrie.
The 2015 aired a month before the new Star Wars movie was set to premiere. To open the show, Carrie dressed as Princess Leia and Brad as Han Solo. Later on, Star Trek's William Shatner even in a Stormtrooper costume. "Hey Carrie Fisher," he said to Carrie, pointing out that with her husband's surname, she shared a designation with the actress behind the fictional heroine.
When it came to Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert's recent divorce, the co-hosts tread lightly. During the opening monologue, Carrie caught the whole audience by surprise and said, "Of course we can't ignore the breakup that rocked our world": Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy.
For the 2016 CMA Awards' opening number, Brad and Carrie corralled some of country's biggest stars. The whole performance peaked when Randy Travis—who had suffered a stroke three years earlier—delivered the final notes of his song "Forever and Ever Amen."
We have to give Brad and Carrie props for skillfully navigating the stress of the election year. Throughout the night, the singers peppered in quips, from presidential impressions to "nasty woman" references.
Football star Peyton Manning was present for the 2016 CMA Awards, and the co-hosts used it as an opportunity to parody the jingle for Nationwide Insurance (for which Peyton serves as spokesman). When asked if either was his favorite country singer, Peyton played along, singing that no, it's actually "Kenny Chesney."
Brad and Carrie addressed the tragic events of 2017, including shootings and national disasters, with an emotional opening. "Tonight, we’re going to do what families do: come together, pray together, cry together, and sing together, too," Carrie said.
The CMA Awards hosts celebrated Alan Jackson’s induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame with song. After Alan performed "Chasin' That Neon Rainbow," he was joined by Brad and Carrie for "Don't Rock the Jukebox."
In honor of the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017, Carrie and Brad donned eclipse glasses and got goofy with a "Total Eclipse of the Garth" parody.