The Academy of Country Music Awards will have a makeover this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but according to host Keith Urban, the show must go on.
The awards had already been postponed in March and now the ceremony — originally scheduled to take place in Las Vegas on April 5 — will broadcast live from three locations in Nashville. Urban, 52, hosts the ACMs for the first time.
“[I’m excited] that the show’s going on!” Urban told PEOPLE. “It was a challenge to figure out how we were going to do this with no audience and not in Las Vegas and not in April. But we’ll be in Nashville, and I’ll be live at the Grand Ole Opry. We’ll also have artists at the Bluebird Cafe and Ryman Auditorium. It’s going to be a fun night.”
According to Urban, each of these three locations will be “equally magical” to play at “for three different reasons.”
“The Opry, it’s sacred,” he said. “The Ryman Auditorium is just so hallow — that stage, that venue is probably the best sounding venue I’ve ever played at in my life, and I’ve heard other artists say that, including Chris Martin from Coldplay. It’s an amazing sounding venue. I saw Coldplay play at the Ryman Auditorium on one of their first tours in the states — it was extraordinary.”
“They’ll be ahead, in the future, cheering me on,” he said.
Speaking of Kidman, Urban can’t help but gush over his wife. “She’s just the one,” he said. “She’s the one that I was searching for my whole life, and everything not only changed but had to change in me if I was gonna go that road.”
When asked about how he would like to present himself at the big event, the ‘You’ll Think of Me’ singer said jokingly that he “should wear a green screen suit.”
“Then I’ll just change it all night long,” he chuckled. “We can have [a poll] with the fans, and they can decide in the moment.”
Urban is also busy promoting his new studio album, The Speed of Now Part 1, due to be released on Friday.
“My [upcoming] record has a lot of very personal and topical songs,” he said. “The very first song is called ‘Out the Cage,’ and it says, ‘I don’t know just how long/But I’ve been trapped in here quite a while/I wonder if I’ll make it out/I miss my friends/I miss the sky/I feel like I just live to die/That can’t be what life’s about.’ So I think people will be pulled in right away.”
The ACM Awards airs from Nashville on Sept. 16 from 8-11 p.m. on CBS.
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