From Garth Brooks' special first-time performance with George Strait to Blake Shelton's co-hosting stint with Luke Bryan, several Oklahomans will be involved in the 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.
That's just the way R.A. Clark, the show's executive producer, likes it.
“Not to discount any of the other states, but a lot of great country performers come out of Oklahoma: Reba, Toby, Vince, Garth, Blake, I'm sure I'm missing a few. But I mean, there seems to be a hotbed of creativity of folks that ... touch the experience of America. That, to me, comes out of those folks that come from Oklahoma,” Clark said in a teleconference earlier this week.
“RAC, they're texting right now from Texas,” Academy of Country Music CEO Bob Romeo deadpanned.
“Yeah, RAC, George Strait's on Line 2,” cracked Jack Sussman, executive vice president of CBS specials and live programming.
“I just think it's an interesting coincidence that there seems to be a lot of folks who come out of Oklahoma who rise to the forefront in country music,” Clark added, laughing.
The 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards will air live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas from 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday on CBS. Shelton, his wife Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Thompson Square, Toby Keith, Vince Gill and Rascal Flatts are among the superstars with Oklahoma ties who have been nominated for ACM Awards.
In addition, Shelton, Lambert, Underwood and Brooks have been confirmed as performers for the show, and Lambert and Reba McEntire, the show's former longtime host, have been announced as presenters.
An Ada native, Shelton will co-host for the third year, with Luke Bryan joining for his first live TV co-hosting gig.
“These two guys genuinely like other, they have a great time together, and on occasion, they might forget they're on live television,” Sussman said.
The gregarious co-hosts are unlikely to forget that Shelton and his wife of two years are making history: Romeo said as far as he knows, the Tishomingo residents are the first husband and wife in ACM history to compete for the top prize, entertainer of the year. Bryan, Jason Aldean and reigning ACM entertainer of the year Taylor Swift will compete with Shelton and Lambert for the entertainer award.