Brad Paisley thinks he’s special, and on Tueday night (Dec. 3), after watching his primetime variety show of the same name, I’m pretty sure the rest of the world agrees.
He’s got a sense of humor a country mile wide, and this was the first time he was able to showcase his wit outside of a reality show, awards show or late-night talk show. But Paisley didn’t do it alone. He got by with a little help from his friends. Friends who were there to allegedly roast him, but his rapport with every single one was impossible to ignore.
The show was taped at Nashville’s War Memorial Auditorium, which busted the myth that Paisley explained at the start of the show. “I think for a while people pictured this town as a bunch of hillbillies singing country music driving around in pick-up trucks, but we are so much more than that now,” Paisley said in between the continuous medley of his music, including the hits and the parodies.
Manning’s role throughout the show — as a former NFL quarterback — was simply to coach the damn near uncoachable Paisley. He rolled his eyes, threw his playbook, and made threats to pull him out of the game. Repeatedly.
When Paisley offers to give Underwood sweet tea and go muddin’, she was quick to agree, but only if she could drive. “You’re gonna wanna buckle up. I feel the need for speed,” she said as Paisley tried to play guitar from the passenger seat. “Jesus! Take the wheel. I’m gonna throw up,” he says, pretty convincingly, before falling out of the truck.
“Dear Teenage Kelsea,” Ballerini said when she came on stage during Paisley’s “Letter to Me” segment. “Please keep following all of your dreams. But under no circumstances should you ever show anyone the video of you signing Jonas Brothers in your bedroom, ever. Ever.” But Paisley knows people. So not only did he unearth that video, he unearthed the Jonas Brothers.
The Jonas Brothers
Nick, Joe and Kevin Jonas all agreed that that song didn’t apply to the sibling boy band who literally lived the kind of life teenagers dream about. But they are still good sports. So Ballerini and all the Jonas’ joined him to finish the song. Once they left, Paisley backed Ballerini for her “Miss Me More.” The Jonas Brothers came back later in the show to perform their “Lovebug” and then Paisley’s “She’s Everything.”
Because Paisley had never known the joy of a pedal tavern — the mainstay of every Nashville bachelorette party — he decided to crash one meandering down Nashville’s Lower Broadway. He sits next to the bride-to-be declaring the ride like the Flinstones, but drunk. The Bachelor/Bachelorette host Chris Harrison showed up to take a ride with the group, and hand out the show’s trademark roses and then ask the dramatic questions about the fate of Marina and Tyler.
As Manning points out, McGraw agreed to come on the show as a back-up because, “Tim McGraw knows he’s special.” And together, they came up with a short list of what Paisley is doing wrong: he’s blowing this, he’s not delivering quick enough. and he’s slow on his feet.
When Paisley started a brand new song called “Alive Right Now,” Addie Pratt — a cancer survivor from St. Jude Children’s Hospital — came out to join him on the special song about the modern miracles all around us. “She defines what this song is all about,” Paisley said of Pratt.
Hootie & the Blowfish and Darius Rucker
Paisley meets up with Rucker in the legendary Tootsies Orchid Lounge and together they play the Hootie & the Blowfish hit “I Only Wanna Be with You.” The song was a massive hit in 1995, incidentally the same year that Paisley graduated from Nashville’s Belmont University. Rucker and Paisley then headed back to the show’s main stage to perform Paisley’s 2009 hit “American Saturday Night.”