(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that's happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)
You can really never fully prepare for an interview with Blake Shelton. Good thing Kimberly Perry knew that. She had to sit down with Shelton as part of her job as co-host (with Luke Bryan) of the CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock special airing Monday (Sept. 17) on ABC. "It was the first time that I've done anything like that. It was nerve wracking, because one part that I had zero experience with was interviewing," she told me. "You guys [journalists] have it tough because you never know where an artist is going to take the interview. I prepared on the bus to interview Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts. And then, Blake Shelton. My brother, Neil, was the Blake Shelton who threw me a curve bomb when we role-played the interview, and then Reid was the Blake Shelton who was not in a very talkative mood. So we prepared for anything." And beyond the interviews and hosting, Perry said she loved getting a bigger role in the show this year. "Two years ago, we did the national anthem. Then last year, we got to play three songs. This year we got a whole 30-minute set," she said of The Band Perry's performance. "I just love getting to see our country-music lovin' fan base from all over the world, all under one Nashville sky."