Brad Paisley is speaking out about how he and co-host Carrie Underwood will address the horrific October 1 Las Vegas mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival when they present the 2017 CMA Awards together on November 8.
After CMT’s Artists of the Year awards paid tribute to the 58 country music fans who were shot and killed as Jason Aldean performed during the Las Vegas festival earlier this month, Brad revealed that he and Carrie will pay their own respects to the victims during their live broadcast next week.
“We have to make sure we honor those we’ve lost,” Paisley said of how the country music community will pay tribute to the victims in a new interview with Rolling Stone, but added that he and Underwood won’t “dwell” on the tragedy.
“We also [have to] celebrate this music, which lives on, and do a good job having the heart we need to have on that night,” Paisley said.
He added that the theme of the 2017 CMA Awards, also referred to as the 51st Annual CMA Awards, has a theme of unity in honor of those who lost their lives.
“The theme of the show this year is very much about unity and coming together as a format,” Brad, who performed at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in 2016 just one year before the mass shooting, continued.
But while there’s no doubting that the country music award show – often referred to as the Oscars of country music – will likely have a slightly more sinister tone in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, Paisley also assured fans that he and Underwood will continue on with their trademark comedy.
“We have this shtick now,” the “Water” singer told the outlet of his on-air relationship with Carrie. “When you do something like this, we take on personas a little bit beyond who we really are, as a duo. So I get to play the idiot…”
Brad then once again touched on the tragedy, as well as what seems like a barrage of global disasters in 2017, after Underwood confirmed on Instagram last week that they’re deep in the preparation process ahead of the big show next week.
“This is a challenging year in some ways,” he said, “but at the same time I’m really honored we have the keys.”
After news of the shooting broke, Brad shared a heartfelt message for the victims on social media and noted that country music is a “family” that would rally around all those affected.
“I love country music, our fans, and our industry. We are a family,” he wrote on Instagram on October 2 in reference to the Las Vegas massacre. “We are hurting together today. God be with the victims. #prayforvegas.”
Carrie also shared a heartfelt message of her own for all those caught up in the tragedy after a gunman opened fire on the crowd of thousands of country music fans from the Mandalay Bay hotel across the street from the concert site.
“Woke up to such horrible news,” Underwood tweeted after hearing about the shooting. “We are praying for the victims and their families. May the Lord bring some comfort to them.”
Carrie’s tweet has since received more than 36,000 likes.
Notably, the country music community has rallied around those affected by the tragedy in the weeks that have followed.
Carrie’s “The Fighter” duet partner Keith Urban has been one of the most vocal, even recalling to fans who gathered at a vigil in Nashville on October 2 how he explained the shooting to his and Nicole Kidman’s 9-year-old daughter, Sunday Rose, as he broke down in tears.
The 2017 CMA Awards will air live on ABC on November 8.
[Featured Image by Rick Diamond/Getty Images]