CMT Hot 20 Countdown is all about the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards taking place Sunday (April 2) in Las Vegas.
Several nominees including Kelsea Ballerini, Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum, Maren Morris and others will appear on the all-new episode and give a preview of what to expect from awards show co-hosts Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley.
“They’re both just so quick-witted and silly that I think it’ll just be like another kind of like lighthearted, fun energy in the room,” Ballerini said. She heads to the show with a performance slot and two nominations for female vocalist and video of the year for “Peter Pan.”
“Obviously, I remember seeing the first time Luke hosted,” Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley recalls. “He was a little nervous, but he’s such a pro now. And even Dierks did an amazing job that first year, but I know he’ll feel OK. I always look forward o the opening monologue to see what those two have got.”
“The banter between them,” Lady A member Hillary Scott adds, “they’re always picking on each other, and that always makes for some really great laughs. Dierks’ sense of humor is a lot drier than Luke’s. So to see that back-and-forth is always really entertaining.”
Lady A will perform their new single “You Look Good” on Sunday’s show and they’re also nominated for vocal group of the year — an award they’ve won three times since 2009.
The ACM’s new male vocalist Jon Pardi says to expect some new surprises unlike previous ceremonies.
“I talked to Dierks, and its gonna be good,” Pardi said. “It’s been fun ’cause I’m on tour with Dierks and he’s been talking about writing — they got some new writers and they’re getting all kinds of new fun stuff. So I think it’s going to be pretty entertaining.”
“They’re just going make what’s already the party of the year and make it more fun,” Brett Young says. “The fact that they’re buddies, have a similar sense of humors and that they’re at the top of country music right now, I think that just adds to the show.”
“They were hilarious last time,” Cam says. “I love Dierks. I got to go on tour with him last year. He’s one of my favorite people. They really are just good human beings. So, I think it’s fun to watch the two of them be hilarious.”
Cody Alan will also be in the studio with High Valley, Chris Janson and Kelleigh Bannen on the all-new Hot 20, airing Saturday (April 1) and Sunday (April 2) at 9 a.m. ET/PT. The countdown will also feature Young talking about his new hit, “In Case You Didn’t Know,” and RaeLynn in Houston, Texas, as she celebrates the release of her new album, WildHorse.
During an ACM press conference on Friday (March 31), Bentley and Bryan teased they will be doing a surprise collaboration with a rock icon to honor another rock icon during Sunday’s ACM Awards. The show starts at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.