Country music superstars Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood are veteran hosts of the CMA Awards. In fact, they are the longest-tenured awards show hosts, with tonight being their eighth consecutive year.
And, well, based on their no-holds-barred opening monologue, it seems clear they’ve thrown caution to the wind.
Don’t get me wrong — these two have pulled some brazen stuff in the past. Need I remind you of the year Paisley mimed motorboating? They haven’t exactly been shrinking violets in the nearly decade they’ve been doing this together.
But this year they really seemed to step up their snark. I know what you’re thinking… they’re so sweet, though! While that is undoubtedly true, here’s a little proof the gloves came off this year. Just check out the many celebs they took jabs at!
1. Caitlyn Jenner
While Caitlyn Jenner’s transition was a huge moment in our country’s cultural sphere this year, it’s certainly not a punch line. While some ill-conceived jokes have been made at Jenner’s expense, her new life as Caitlyn has largely been applauded and given respect. But during a song called “Everything is Cray Cray,” Paisley fired off, “Bruce Jenner’s a babe now.” Fans were not feeling it, understandably.
#CMAawards the transgender community and the people within it aren't a sideshow for y'all to make a joke out of. Inappropriate. Cruel. 👎
— rikka 🌱 (@RikkaPTX) November 5, 2015
— Matthew Hughes (@youfeenmylife) November 5, 2015
2. Olivier Martinez
Segueing into other big changes this year, Paisley commented, “You know what else is ‘cray cray’? How many couples broke up this year — from Ben Affleck to Jennifer Garner, Halle Berry and… what’s his name?” Ouch. Not even a name mention for Olivier Martinez? Paisley must be #TeamBerry.
3. Donald Trump
Jenner wasn’t the only public figure Paisley and Underwood tackled in the “Cray Cray” ditty. Moving on to other distinctive developments this year, Paisley sang, “And Trump’s leading in the polls.” When Underwood corrected Paisley, the crowd went wild while Paisley feigned disappointment.
4. Blake Shelton (and Miranda Lambert, by proxy)
Let us preface this by saying that Shelton seemed to be in on the joke or, at the very least, he had a very good sense of humor about it. Covering all of the celebrity breakups this year, Paisley and Underwood said, “Of course, we can’t ignore the breakup that really rocked the world — two people we know and love… Miss Piggy and Kermit.” Paisley then drilled the point home, speaking to Shelton, “In a completely different topic of no relation, howdy, Blake!” But wait, it didn’t stop there. Paisley had more jokes, asking Underwood if she’d listened to Shelton’s duet with Ashley Madison. Underwood reminded him it was Ashley Monroe and then the two sang the jingle for farmersonly.com to Shelton.
5. Josh Duggar
With all the controversy surrounding the Ashley Madison hack, simply working it into the monologue was pretty risqué. Paisley took it one step further, though, apparently unable to contain his distaste for one very specific (and highly publicized) Ashley Madison user. After rattling on for a minute about people who use the site, Paisley capped off the bit by saying directly into the microphone, “Josh Duggar.”
— David (@Davidsaurs) November 5, 2015
— Kayla (@Kayla101388) November 5, 2015
6. Little Jimmy Dickens
This didn’t technically happen during the opening monologue, but it happened not long after and was just as jarring as some of the opening jabs. While paying tribute to late Grand Ole Opry icon Little Jimmy Dickens, Paisley pulled out a tiny urn — a rip on Dickens’ short stature, which was definitely not well-received by the audience. But given that Paisley and Dickens were extremely close friends before Dickens’ passing, we imagine Paisley knew his late friend would appreciate the dig.