51st annual CMA Awards take over downtown Nashville

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The biggest night in country music will be held Wednesday as the 51st annual CMA Awards take over downtown Nashville.

Country superstars Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood are returning as hosts for the tenth year in a row.

The pair said they begun preparing for the show more than two months ago and hope that this year’s ceremony will be uplifting, especially after the recent tragedy in Las Vegas.

“We have to keep bringing country music to the world and we can all heal together,” Paisley said.

While Underwood and Paisley plan to tell jokes, watch performances and hand out awards, they also want to honor the 58 people who were killed at a country music festival in Las Vegas last month.

Underwood said country music wants to pay tribute to the victims and their families.

“You just want to be respectful and do it right. They’re a part of our country music family and we want the families to know that we care a lot,” she said.

Underwood will wear several hats during the show as host, performer and nominee. Last year she ended Miranda Lambert’s six-year streak as female vocalist of the year. Both singers are nominated for the award this year, along with Reba McEntire, Maren Morris and Kelsea Ballerini.

MORE: CMA hosts Paisley and Underwood plan uplifting show

Nominees for the show’s top prize, entertainer of the year, include Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban, Eric Church and last year’s winner, Garth Brooks. Stapleton, Urban, Church, Thomas Rhett and Dierks Bentley are up for male vocalist of the year.

The night will feature a number of collaborative performances, including Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, Ballerini and McEntire, Maren Morris and Niall Horan of One Direction, Paisley and Kane Brown, and Bentley and Rascal Flatts.

*The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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