ACM hosts Shel­ton, Bryan work as comedic duo

The China Post - - ARTS & LEISURE - BY MES­FIN FEKADU

Ex­pect­ing mu­sic at Sun­day’s Academy of Coun­try Mu­sic Awards? You should be ready for com­edy.

Hosts Blake Shel­ton and Luke Bryan held a press con­fer­ence Fri­day at the AT&T Sta­dium and of­fered a pre­view of what’s to come when the ACMs cel­e­brate their 50th an­niver­sary in Ar­ling­ton, Texas.

The show, where Mi­randa Lam­bert is the lead nom­i­nee with eight nom­i­na­tions, will fea­ture 23 per­for­mances, in­clud­ing a kick­off from Keith Ur­ban and Eric Church. Garth Brooks and Tay­lor Swift are among the A-list at­ten­dees. The show will air live on CBS ( 8 p.m. EDT).

“I don’t even know who’s singing. That’s just the god’s hon­est truth,” Shel­ton said to laughs. “I know Mi­randa is and I al­ways look for­ward to that.”

Here’s a break­down of the ban­ter be­tween Shel­ton and Bryan, who are host­ing the ACM Awards for a third year.

When ACM Awards

ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer R.A. Clark said he thought for a sec­ond that the pro­duc­tion at the AT&T Sta­dium looked like the MGM Grand Gar­den Arena, where the awards show is usu­ally held, Shel­ton said: “In other words, you’re just us­ing Luke’s nor­mal pro­duc­tion.”

“I want some­thing to go wrong to­day so I know some­thing won’t go wrong dur­ing the show,” said Clark, son of the late Dick Clark.

“That will be Blake’s re­hearsal,” Bryan replied.

Both stars are nom­i­nated male vo­cal­ist of the year.

“We can duke it out right now,” Bryan said when asked who should win.

“I’m go­ing to take the high road here,” Shel­ton said, “and I say I do.”

No Star Left Be­hind

Shel­ton

doesn’t

for

hold back when he tells jokes, even if it’s about Tay­lor Swift — one of the seven re­cip­i­ents of the 50th An­niver­sary Mile­stone Award.

“Be­ing it’s the 50th, it’s cool we’re go­ing way back and we’re hon­or­ing some of th­ese artists that have been here like Tay­lor Swift and Mi­randa Lam­bert — dig­ging way back,” he said to laughs.

Other hon­orees in­clude Garth Brooks, Kenny Ch­es­ney, Ge­orge Strait, Reba McEn­tire and Brooks & Dunn.

“You’re prob­a­bly an icon award guy, too, aren’t you?” Shel­ton asked Bryan. “No, you’re too new.”

Brooks, who made his re­turn to mu­sic last year af­ter a 13- year break, wasn’t off- lim­its ei­ther.

When a re­porter asked if the live per­for­mances would be avail­able on iTunes, Shel­ton said: “I don’t think so. Don’t for­get Garth is on this thing, so no way.” ( Brooks’ mu­sic isn’t avail­able dig­i­tally, and he re­cently launched his own ser­vice, GhostTunes, to ac­cess his mu­sic on­line.)

At the con­fer­ence, they an­nounced that the awards show will set a Guin­ness world record for most at­tended live awards show ever. When Bryan asked if their pic­ture with the new record would be in the Guin­ness book, Shel­ton replied: “It’ll be Garth.”

NBC’s “The Voice” has helped Shel­ton reach su­per­star sta­tus and Bryan said his friend has changed as a re­sult of his suc­cess in Hol­ly­wood.

“He’s been get­ting some fa­cials,” he said. “He’s hy­drat­ing early in the morn­ing. He’s exfoliating.”

“I apol­o­gize for my tar­di­ness,” said Bryan, who ar­rived a cou­ple min­utes af­ter the press con­fer­ence be­gan. “It’s a lot of work get­ting pre­pared to look bet­ter than Blake.”

Shel­ton didn’t joke the en­tire time: He said one of his fa­vorite ACM mo­ments was see­ing Bryan win the top prize in 2013.

“The coolest thing that I have wit­nessed ... was when Luke won en­ter­tainer of the year,” he said. “Not only did he not ex­pect it, we both kind of ex­pected Tay­lor ( Swift) to win that ... all of a sud­den Luke won and I was as sur­prised and ex­cited as he was. Be­cause I’ve known the guy since he had his first sin­gle out.” Bryan got se­ri­ous, too. “We’re just still so amazed, he and I, to have th­ese op­por­tu­ni­ties and that we made it in coun­try mu­sic,” he said.

AP

Blake Shel­ton, right, and Luke Bryan, co-hosts of Sun­day’s 50th Academy of Coun­try Mu­sic Awards, laugh dur­ing a news con­fer­ence on the event at AT&T Sta­dium on Fri­day, April 17.

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