If Dierks and Luke Are Out As ACM Hosts, Here’s Who We Think Could Replace Them

For the record, the Academy of Country Music has not commented or discussed who a replacement might be.

By kncitom on February 7, 2018
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

by Tom Mailey

Dierks Bentley surprised a crowd of industry people at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville this week when, during a Q&A session, he said that he and Luke “got fired” but offered little explanation beyond that. The real truth is that it was probably a scheduling thing, with Luke’s commitment to American Idol and Dierks going back out on the road. For the record, the Academy of Country Music has not commented or discussed who a replacement might be.

So with that in mind, maybe they’re open to suggestions, starting with some from my colleagues here at KNCI.

Jenna Rae: The Rock. “Why not?” she asked. “He’s a national treasure”. He also knows at least a little country music: not too long ago he tweeted at Chris Young that his song, “‘Man I Want To Be’ came along “at the perfect time. Helped me get thru some tough times but that’s for another conversation over tequila.” Jenna also offered up another intriguing choice: Dolly Parton.  Hey, if The Rock is a National Treasure, she’s a National Monument.


Pat: Bring back Blake! “Throw whatever money you need to and bring him back.” Blake of course co-hosted the show with Luke from 2013 to 2016, and he’s great at it. Or, “What about Matthew McConaughey? He grew up in Texas and loves country music.” And he’s been on country awards shows before. Plus, come on. It’s Matthew McConaughey (check out his shirt in the pic: The Mavericks were a great country band back in the ’90s)


Cody: Drawing from her pop music background, Cody offered up Justin Timberlake, and her reasoning actually kinda makes sense. “Everyone knows who he is, and even though he’s pop, he’s got country connections: he’s collaborated with artists like Garth and Chris Stapleton, and has always been respectful of the format.” Interesting. Plus, don’t these awards shows always look for opportunities to draw in fans from other music genres?

Other possible choices? How about these:

Kelly Clarkson. She’s not country either but she’s dabbled, and don’t you feel she’s got a country album in her future at some point? She’s also whip-quick, so her funniest moment might be if something went wrong. The audience–both in the auditorium and at home–respect the hell out of her…and you know you’d wanna hear her sing.

Peyton Manning.  Everybody knows him, he and Kenny Chesney are best buds, he make some hilarious commercials, and this past year he actually did a really good job hosting the Espy’s. But what would Titans fans say?

Darius Rucker. As noted regarding Timberlake, country awards shows love pulling music fans in from other genres. Darius’ success with Hootie and the Blowfish would mean fans of his 90s era super-group would tune in. Plus, he is relaxed and at-ease onstage and one of the most-liked people in Nashville.

Brett Eldredge. Brett loves the camera–his Instagram and Snap videos are legendary for their creativity and kookiness, and he’s got charm to burn. But does he have enough star power to anchor an entire show? (The dude does look good in a tux, though.)

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman. Keith has more charisma than a hundred artists put together, and he’s probably Nashville’s most respected superstar. And his wife is only one of the best award-winning actresses of all time…so you know she’s nail the teleprompter readings. But, does she have the necessary levity and does Keith have any desire to be an MC?

Garth and Trisha. Country music’s first couple. Why not?! The question is, would they? Garth has demonstrated that he really is all about the music, and doesn’t seem to do much if it’s not singing onstage or in a recording studio. But he’s a sweetheart and Trisha is too, and both of them together have an organic kind of chemistry that’s nearly impossible to replicate and the television would love.

And lastly (and this would be my first choice)….

Chris Pratt. He’s one of the hottest actors in Hollywood, but he’s remained approachable and down-to-earth. He’s also a HUGE country fan and a world-class goof (see his recent duet with Chris Stapleton on Kimmel if you doubt), so you know he wouldn’t take the hosting duties too seriously, which is exactly what an awards show needs.

What about you? What do you think? Did we leave anyone out?



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