Leave it to CMA Awards co-hosts Peyton Manning and Luke Bryan to keep things light and fun in their opening monologue. The former football star appeared to fit right into the country scene when he told the crowd in the Bridgestone Arena, “This is the Super Bowl of country music.” Luke added, “Lainey [Wilson] is our first round draft choice, and Carrie Underwood is always a top consideration for MVPs.”
“Bottom line as CMA Awards co-hosts, I have one goal tonight — for everybody to have fun, to come together, to unite, to country on,” the ‘Idol’ judge said, quoting his newest single, ‘Country On.’ “That was a shameless plug there,” Peyton quipped, before Luke added, “And the celebrate being Americans!” with his fist in the air. “Luke Bryan for President, every body!” the former Colts QB exclaimed.
“My slogan, ‘Huntin, Fishin, Lovin’ Everyday,'” the singer smiled, quoting another one of his hits. “Luke Bryan, a candidate who will never plead the fifth, but he will drink a fifth,” Peyton nodded along, before Luke introduced the first performance of the evening from Ashley McBryde.
The dynamic duo continued to make their fans laugh with their antics ahead of the CMA Awards, as they prepped for the gig. In a promo for the event, Peyton strategized their ‘plays’ for evening on a whiteboard. “I’m going this way,” Manning says as he circles himself on the board with an arrow heading left offstage, “and someone comes up and tries to tackle us?” “Peyton, it’s not going to happen,” the ‘Idol’ judge replied in a deadpan voice. “It’s an awards show.” Luke then went on to quiz the football stars on his country music knowledge, showing him photos of legends like Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker. They practiced their high fives, with Peyton telling Luke to watch his elbow as they came together to make contact, after a missed slap.
Luke went on to chat about the hosting collab while on Good Morning America, telling the outlet, “We have some history together, I think it’s going to be loose, and that’s the cool thing about Peyton, is he has always been a natural lover of country music and I think certainly that’s why it’s going to work.”