About The CMA Awards


“The 52nd Annual CMA Awards” airs live Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018 at 8|7c on ABC Television Network. Country superstars Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood return as hosts for Country Music’s Biggest Night. The CMA Awards nominees and winners are determined by the more than 7,400 industry professional members of the Country Music Association, which when established in 1958, became the first trade organization formed to promote an individual genre of music. The first CMA Awards Banquet and Show was held in 1967. The following year, the CMA Awards was broadcast on NBC Television for the first time – making it the longest running, annual music awards program on network television. The show began airing on the ABC Television Network in 2006 where it still airs today.




Brad Paisley is back again for his 11th consecutive year as co-host of the CMA Awards with Carrie Underwood. In addition to being co-host extraordinaire of “The CMA Awards” for the past decade, Brad Paisley has a long list of titles under his belt including, vocalist, guitar legend, songwriter, filmmaker, and comedian, to name a few. Paisley currently has 24 #1 hits to date—with writing credits on 21 of the songs. In 2017, he released his 11th studio album LOVE AND WAR, which is Paisley’s 9th studio album to debut at #1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart.

“I really think that the CMA Awards are a very special thing in our town,” said Paisley. “When they say it’s ‘Country Music’s Biggest Night™,’ it is. It’s the biggest night of ratings that we ever get. The reason that I think it has worked is because we both take it so seriously that we’re ready when we walk out there.”

Paisley is a top CMA Award winner with 14 Awards to his credit: 

  • CMA Horizon Award (now the New Artist of the Year) (2000)
  • CMA Vocal Event of the Year (2001 for “Too Country” with Bill Anderson, George Jones and Buck Owens)
  • CMA Album of the Year (2006 for Time Well Wasted)
  • CMA Music Video of the Year (2002 for “I’m Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin’ Song),” 2004 for “Whiskey Lullaby” (with Krauss), and in 2007 for “Online,” and 2008 for “Waitin’ on a Woman” (featuring Andy Griffith))
  • CMA Musical Event of the Year (2004 for “Whiskey Lullaby” with Alison Krauss, 2006 for “When I Get Where I’m Going” with Dolly Parton, and 2009 for “Start a Band” with Keith Urban)
  • CMA Male Vocalist of the Year (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • CMA Entertainer of the Year (2010)


Since winning American Idol and first appearing on the CMA Awards to perform her hit “Jesus, Take the Wheel” in 2005, Carrie Underwood has become a beloved fixture at the CMA Awards. She is back again to join Brad Paisley as they celebrate their 11th consecutive year of co-hosting together. Underwood currently has 26 #1 singles to date, 13 of which she co-wrote. In September of 2018, she is releasing her 6th studio album, Cry Pretty.

“I think I can speak for both of us when I say that we are extremely excited to be back hosting the CMA Awards,” said Underwood. “Each year we work harder so that we can help present the best show possible.”

Underwood has won six CMA Awards to date: 

  • CMA Horizon Award (now New Artist of the Year) (2006)
  • CMA Single of the Year (2007 for “Before He Cheats”)
  • CMA Female Vocalist of the Year (2006, 2007, 2008, 2016)

At its inception in 1967, the CMA Awards trophy was designed to resemble a chart bullet. Constructed of a rich walnut and a sturdy marble base, the trophy signified the strength, durability and warmth of the genre. A brass music note adorning the center read “Best Liked World Wide,” CMA’s slogan at the time. The limited supply of walnut wood in 1983 encouraged a transition to crystal, the material still used today. With the update arrived a new medallion in the center that has been modified only slightly since.

Today’s 15-inch, 7.5-pound trophy is a stylish, high-value adornment made of hand-blown fine crystal in Florence, Italy, with final assembly by Francis & Lusky in Nashville, Tenn. The CMA logo appears on a tri-level, die-struck medallion in polished bronze. After the CMA Awards winners have been revealed live on the annual broadcast, the award is engraved with the winner’s name and CMA Awards category.


Similar to the Oscars and the Grammys, the CMA Awards are voted on by members of the association. Members of the Country Music Association are music executives, artists, publicists, songwriters, musicians, touring professionals and other industry professionals from all around the world.

CMA Awards winners are chosen in three rounds of voting. Votes are cast by industry professional members of the Country Music Association – meaning Awards winners are honored by their peers in the music industry.

Awards criteria, rules of election and balloting procedures are established by CMA’s Board of Directors. Singles, albums, music videos and qualified music products for the annual show must have been first released during the eligibility period, which for the 2018 show is July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018.


CMA Awards winners are chosen in three rounds of voting. Votes are cast by industry professional members of the Country Music Association – meaning Awards winners are honored by their peers in the music industry.

Eligibility Period: July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.