Country music's biggest night just gained two shining stars.
On Monday, the Country Music Assn. announced that Reba McEntire will return to host the CMA Awards this year, alongside newcomer Darius Rucker. The "Wagon Wheel" hitmaker (and Hootie & the Blowfish frontman) is the first Black artist to emcee the ceremony in 45 years, and only the second in the show's 53-year history.
McEntire has previously hosted the event four times, including last year opposite Carrie Underwood and Dolly Parton.
"I've already watched a lot of Reba video from back in the day, but I got Reba to lean on, so I'm gonna do my best," Rucker told "Good Morning America" on Monday.
"I've gotten to host it by myself, cohost it, and I'm really looking forward to getting to cohost with Darius," McEntire said.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) October 5, 2020
In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Rucker said he intended to share his big CMA news with country music pioneer Charley Pride, who became the first Black performer to cohost the ceremony — with Glen Campbell in 1975 — after winning entertainer of the year in 1971.
Rucker has collected five CMA nominations and one win, for best new artist in 2009. McEntire is among the most decorated singers in CMA history, with six wins and 51 nominations as of this year.
“To be invited to host this year’s awards alongside Reba — are you kidding me?! — it is an absolute honor," Rucker said Monday in a statement. "Even though this year will look a little different than normal, I know that we’re all eager for a night of musical celebration, and this year’s show definitely won’t disappoint!”
Among this year's top nominees are Miranda Lambert, Luke Combs, Dan + Shay, Jay Joyce, Carly Pearce, Justin Bieber, Ashley McBryde and Keith Urban.
The 54th CMA Awards will air live from Music City Center in Nashville on Nov. 11.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.