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93.1 Coast Country Dallas & Brenda 51st Annual CMA awards preview

Luke Bryan is a two-time CMA Entertainer of the Year and he’s nominated for the award once again on Wednesday night.  Luke says one reason he’d like to win it again is so that he can personally show his gratitude to his fans.

“When you win an Entertainer of the Year award, then you get to thank your fans on tour the following year and every night when you acknowledge, ‘Thanks for coming out. Because of you guys, I’m your Entertainer of the Year,'” he tells ABC Radio.

The country singer won the coveted award in 2014 and 2015, but finds himself among some tough competition this year: he’s up against Garth BrooksEric ChurchChris Stapleton and Keith Urban. But whether he wins or loses the award, Luke says the actual “entertaining” part of his job is the most important thing.

“The main thing for me is entertain, put music out and do this job to the best of your availability,” he explains. “Hopefully I’ll have a few more years at getting to be a part of this night. I cherish all of my memories of being at the CMA Awards, and certainly cherish my two Entertainer of the Year awards that I’ve been blessed to win — which is still amazing to me.” (AUDIO IS ABC 1-ON-1)

Tune into the CMA Awards on ABC Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET to see if Luke is crowned Entertainer of the Year for the third time.

 Wednesday night on ABC, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood host the CMA Awards for the tenth time. That’s a feat surpassed only by Vince Gill, who led country music’s biggest night for a record twelve years.

Looking back over a decade, it’s impossible for Brad to pick out a highlight that stands out among the rest.

“There are so many, it’s hard to really pick anything in particular that’s my favorite moment of the whole thing. I really can’t,” he tells ABC Radio. “I mean, the Barbies with Tim [McGraw] and Faith [Hill] have always been an amazing thing. Hank [Williams] Junior walking out.”

Nevertheless, Brad admits last year’s CMA half-century celebration was a career high point for him.

“You’re standing there and Alabama’s singing, and Reba [McEntire]…” he remembers. “And I’m behind the wall waiting on Vince to finish a [Merle] Haggard song, so that I can say, ‘I’m a pickin’ and I’m a grinnin” with Roy Clark. I mean, it’s really bucket list stuff.”

Brad’s CMA partner is inclined to agree with him.

“That was like a perk of being a host,” Carrie says. “Like we don’t get paid, getting up there hosting the show. That was our payment, being able to be onstage with those legendary artists.” 

Wednesday night’s show promises to add more big moments to Brad and Carrie’s long list of CMA highlights. You can check out the 51st Annual CMA Awards Wednesday starting at 8 p.m. ET, as the evening airs live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on ABC.