Trace Adkins is an award show pro by now, but that doesn’t mean the thrill is gone. He’ll be co-hosting tonight’s American Country Awards alongside singer-actor-Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth (who’s recently released a country album). While he still looks forward to seeing his favorite artists stepping onstage to perform, things are a little different now that he’s witnessed the nuts and bolts backstage.
“When you’re watching them growing up there’s that idolatry, you idolize these people and you’re just a huge fan of them,” he said. “I’m still a fan and I still try to watch it that way and enjoy it, have a good time with it, and just get as much pleasure out of the whole thing as I can. When you get backstage and you see the underbelly and find out the emperor has no clothes, it changes a little bit for you.”
This is Trace’s second time at the helm of the ACAs. He’s a little more comfortable in the role this time around and has a better idea of what it takes to be a good host. He does have a plan in place though, should something go off track during the live show.
“You have to try to look like you’re comfortable in that role and relaxed and charged, and confident,” he said. “So that’s all I’m trying to do, I’m just trying to never let them see you sweat, you know that old adage. Just try to look like you know what’s going on, especially when you don’t.”
As you can see in the photo above, Trace is considerably taller than his co-host — approximately 19 inches. Reporters have been asking Trace about the height difference. “Perhaps somebody might have to carry around an apple box for her everywhere, but I don’t know,” teases Trace. “I’ve seen her on television and I’m aware of who she is and the work that she’s done, and she’s very funny and very pretty and she is very petite, so it could be an interesting contrast.”
While the ACAs include performances and appearances by country stars just like other award shows, they are the only country music awards that are entirely fan voted. Trace is a supporter of fan-voted awards and thinks there will be some surprise victories when the awards are announced tonight.
“I think it’s great that there’s one that lets the fans have their say,” he said. “It takes a lot of the politics out of it and it’s just strictly up to the fans. You’re going to get some interesting outcomes, I think, and probably some that the industry will scratch their head a little bit, but that’s what makes it fun.”
The ACA Awards air live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas tonight, December 5, at 8/7 CT on FOX.