For Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley is more than just her close friend and frequent duet partner. He's like a big brother and her own personal Conway Twitty.
“We just work as a team,” Underwood said in a recent phone interview. “If you think about — and I mean, I'm not meaning to like compare us to these people at all — there's so many good teams in country music over the years, you know, George (Jones) and Tammy (Wynette) and Conway and Loretta (Lynn).”
“It's great for me to have my own Conway and have my own George, you know,” she added with a laugh.
While the Checotah native and her fellow country music superstar have recorded two popular ballads together — including last year's chart-topper “Remind Me” — their most high-profile collaboration is co-hosting the CMA Awards. They will emcee the Country Music Association's 46th annual soiree for the fifth straight year at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. The awards show will air live on ABC.
“It's more of like big brother-little sister kind of connection that we have. We pick on each other. I feel like we have the same kind of sense of humor. We're both pretty dry. He's a little more sort of smart-alecky than me,” Underwood said. “It just works. I don't know, there's no ego involved, nobody's trying to upstage the other ... we're so happy to celebrate each other's success and work together. And I love his family, and he's buddies with my husband. It all works.”
The show is also hard work for the pair.
Along with co-hosting the three-hour event, both will compete for prizes and perform on the CMA Awards. Underwood received her seventh nomination for female vocalist of the year, a trophy she claimed in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
She won't be the only star with Oklahoma ties who shines during Thursday's ceremony. Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and Vince Gill also are included on the performance lineup, while Reba McEntire will appear as a presenter, the night before her new sitcom “Malibu Country” premieres on ABC.