OFFSTAGE: Jason Aldean: “It’s Cool to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone”

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

When CMT contacted Jason Aldean about co-hosting the 2013 CMT Music Awards , he thought they had the wrong number.

“I remember thinking, ’What are y’all calling me for?'” he told me after his Tuesday night (June 4) show rehearsals. “But the more I thought about it, I thought I may never get another chance to do something like this. I thought it would be interesting, and I’d never done it before, and I like doing things I’ve never done. So why not, you know?”

And so far, so good. From what I could see at the rehearsals, he seemed like a natural onstage with co-host Kristen Bell. And Aldean told me she’s the reason for that.

“When you have someone to play off of like Kristen, her timing is just really good,” he said. “She’s so quick and witty, and that really helps. And for me, I’m kind of trying to make it as natural as possible. So you stick to script but make it your own thing. I don’t want to be up there sounding like a robot. I want to make whatever they wrote for me — me.”

Aldean isn’t just hosting Wednesday night (June 5). He’ll also be performing his new single “Night Train” and embarking on a special collaboration with Lenny Kravitz .

“There’s so much going on with hosting that when I do get onstage to perform our songs, it’s actually a little bit of a relief,” he said. “It’s like, ’OK, I’m back in my comfort zone.'”

Ultimately, though, he’s going to spend most of his night talking instead of singing.

“I’ve tried a lot of things this past year, and I think it’s cool to get out of your comfort zone. You never know if you’re good at something unless you try,” he said, adding that he is still shocked he was even asked to host. “I just hope their censor button is on.”

The 2013 CMT Music Awards air live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CMT and

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