Sunday night will mark Luke Bryan’s third stint as co-host (his partner being Blake Shelton) for the Academy of Country Music Awards—but the 2015 broadcast will be a little different. The 50th anniversay of the ACMs will be broadcast from the home of the Dallas Cowboys, a sold-out, 80,000 seat AT&T Stadium. EW caught up with the “Drink A Beer” singer from Dallas to discuss the show and what he’s looking forward to most.
On looking forward to Sunday: “It’s going to be a great night—it’s been a lot of build-up so I’m just looking forward to the moment when the lights come up and its time to put the show on at this point. And being in AT&T Stadium, that’s a fun vibe. I can’t wait to get caught up in the whole atmosphere.”
On playing in front of that packed house: “With my stadium shows last year we played in front of 60,000 and 70,000 crowds, and it’s hard to wrap your head around that being an almost normal-sized crowd for us—walking out there and doing shows in that sort of situation.”
So you’re not nervous, then? “There’s no way to step out there without being super keyed up, but I wouldn’t want to just roll out and be nonchalant. It’s fun to have a touch of anxiety.”
On pulling double duty—hosting while nominated: “I’m flattered—thankful that I get to play the important role in hosting and certainly being up for awards. That’s the ultimate goal: being thought as that type of entertainer. It’s something I take pride in.”
On Chris Stapleton, who wrote “Drink A Beer” (up for Song of the Year): “Chris is one of the most talented singers and artists out there. I’m doing all I can to build him up, I want people to know who Chris Stapleton is—he’s incredible.”
On being nominated alongside Garth Brooks (for Entertainer of the Year): “I was a die-hard country radio fan growing up and Garth had a huge influence on me as a kid. It’s a pinch-me moment to be in these categories with my heroes.”
On who he can’t wait to see: “I’m looking forward to seeing what [Eric] Church and [Jason] Aldean do. And Carrie [Underwood]—certainly Carrie. I love seeing what she does. Certain people just really perform when the moment comes.”
Bryan and his team made a series of commemorative videos, thanking his fans for their nominations (this is really his thing—remember that spring-break version?). They are streaming below. The 50th annual ACM awards will broadcast live from AT&T Stadium on April 19, at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. You can cast your vote for Entertainer of the Year and New Artist of the Year here.