Country music's biggest night: 53rd annual CMA Awards to reach beyond boundaries of country music

BySandy Kenyon via KGO logo
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
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Sandy Kenyon reports on the 53rd annual CMA Awards.

NASHVILLE -- A big, wide, deep and long red carpet serves as a welcome mat for country music royalty at the Country Music Association Awards on Wednesday night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, but this show looks to a broad horizon encompassing several different genres of music.

The CMAs have become known for reaching out beyond the boundaries of country music to embrace other styles and bring the best of pop and even hip-hop together with Nashville's biggest stars. On Wednesday night, Pink will perform with Chris Stapleton and Lady Antebellum shares the stage with Halsey.

That is just fine with host, Carrie Underwood, who believes it keeps country vital.

"It's so nice when you have people that are a little more unexpected to get to come and be on that stage and make you realize why you love this genre of music in the first place," Underwood said.

Yes, these awards may be given out by the Country Music Association, but the CEO of the CMA said there's room for everybody here.

"I always call it, 'the big tent of country music,'" says Sarah Trahern. "And under the big tent of country music there's space for a lot of really great songs."

Great tunes and great talent. A year ago, who could've believed Lil Nas X would have a huge hit singing a country song with Billy Ray Cyrus? But, it happened.

And on Wednesday morning their tune, "Old Town Road," won a trophy for Musical Event of The Year.

At the 53rd annual CMA Awards, the women of country will take center stage at a show hosted by Carrie Underwood, who will be helped by two legendary guest hosts: Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire.

Underwood said that she takes, "the legacy of women in country music very seriously. Wherever you are on the road in our history, you're hopefully laying groundwork for whatever is to come next."

Viewers can stream "On The Red Carpet at the CMA Awards" beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT at

Live coverage airs on ABC at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT | 6:30 p.m. CT. The 2019 CMA Awards will air Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT | 7 p.m. CT on ABC.