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Luke Bryan is “excited” and “confident” to host CMA Awards, heaps praise onto ’American Idol’s Gabby Barrett

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Connie Chronuk/ABC

After spending three years as a judge on American Idol, Luke Bryan is well-prepared for his hosting gig at the 2021 CMA Awards. 

While he acknowledges that judging and hosting are two different tasks, Luke notes that being in front of an audience of millions on American Idol is the ideal boot camp for hosting the CMAs for the first time. 

"Being in front of the TV a lot with American Idol has gotten me more comfortable with the role of doing these things. I'm excited to be in the role and be confident in the role," he explains. "You don't ever want to be out there and you're so nervous and freaked out that you can't do a great job, which I'll still be nervous and freaked out." 

It's through Idol that the hitmaker met future country superstar Gabby Barrett. The "I Hope" singer competed on season 16, where she came in third place. Soon after, she made the leap to Music City and has scored two consecutive #1 hits and is nominated for multiple CMA Awards.  

"I thought she was incredible from the start. I thought that she was amazing throughout the whole process and I always really loved the way she used her voice," says Luke. "She's a powerhouse singer, and what I really love the most is right when American Idol got finished, she moved straight to Nashville and went to work."

Luke continues: "She really took her career and took the reins of it. And to be a four time nominee, from the world getting to meet her on Idol, to present day is something that Gabby Barrett should hold her head high about because she earned every second of it." 

The CMA Awards air on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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