CMA Awards Rehearsals: Carrie Underwood and Cole Swindell

Underwood Is Getting Used to the Big Night, While Swindell Is Just Getting Started

The countdown to the 48th annual CMA Awards is on, and with only two days until show time — Wednesday (Nov. 5) at 8 p.m. ET — rehearsals are in full swing.

For co-host Carrie Underwood, it’s hard to believe she and Brad Paisley have been at the show’s helm for seven years in a row. The superstar says it’s never easy, but they definitely know more of what to expect each year.

“There’s a little less nerves about it,” Underwood says. “And we can get down to business and really figure out what works and what doesn’t. But it’s always exciting, and that’s the cool thing about it. Every year is different, and we have new things to talk about and new artists and songs and events that are happening, so it’s always exciting. It always makes for good times at awards shows when you’re kinda the one driving the bus.”

In addition to hosting and performing, the mom-to-be also received three nominations this year — female vocalist of the year, musical event and music video of the year (both for “Somethin’ Bad” with Miranda Lambert).

Meanwhile, new artist of the year nominee Cole Swindell says Wednesday night will be a dream come true. It’s is his first time in a CMA Awards category, and after rehearsing for the show, he reflected on the honor.

“Growing up loving country music and then the time in my life where I realized I wanted to be an artist and move to Nashville, I was just wanting to come up here and make music,” he said. “You dream of getting nominated for such a big deal, and it’s finally here. It’s hard for me to believe.

“And then a performance to go along with that is just what I’ve always dreamed of. I mean, here I am. I’ve only been to the CMA Awards once, and this is my second year — first time nominated.”

Tune in to CMT on Wednesday night (Nov. 5) at 7 p.m. ET as the festivities kick off on the red carpet. Then watch the big event immediately following on ABC.

An all-new episode of CMT Hot 20 Countdown premieres this Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 8-9) at 11 a.m. ET/PT.