ACM Awards: Reba Admits She Missed Hosting

See Photos of Her Best Moments at the ACM Awards

“I never thought I’d say this,” Reba McEntire recalled telling her manager, “but I had missed hosting the ACMs so much.”

When she takes the stage on April 15 in Las Vegas, it will be her 15th year hosting the Academy of Country Music Awards. The first time she hosted she did so with George Strait and Randy Owen in 1993. Billboard asked her how she felt about it, and it sounds like the timing is perfect for McEntire and for the Academy. It was actually all the years that she wasn’t hosting that made her realize that it might be nice to get that gig back.

“When you’re out in the audience watching the show,” she shared, “you’re like, ’What are they doing backstage? I wish I was back there. Are they running long? Are they running short? Any problems? Anything I can help with?’”

Kevin Winter/ACMA2012/Getty Images for ACM

And regardless of how you feel on the inside, she said, on the outside, you need to look a certain way. “Look relaxed, if you are or not. Look like you’re having a good time. It will keep the audience relaxed and everybody in a great mood. Keep it flowing. The hardest work is making sure that everything is going to be set with our dialogue, costuming, make sure everything is ready to go before we ever walk out on stage. Be prepared, know your material and then get out there and have a wonderful time.

“If I’m a nervous wreck or I’m mad, the audience can tell it immediately so it’s your responsibility as an entertainer, as a host, to go out there and have a good time. Put everybody at ease and it [will] be the best night ever,” she said.

Reba heads to the ACM Awards with a nomination for female vocalist of the year.

Enjoy a few scenes of McEntire’s best moments onstage and offstage at the ACM Awards:

Kevin Mazur/ACMA2017/Getty Images for ACM
Rick Diamond/ACMA2013/Getty Images for ACM
Kevin Winter/ACMA2011/Getty Images for ACM
Rick Diamond/ACM2015/Getty Images for dcp
Rick Diamond/ACMA2013/Getty Images for ACM
Kevin Winter/ACM2015/Getty Images for dcp
Rick Diamond/Getty Images for ACM
Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.