Reba McEntire Gives Her Inside Take on ACM Awards Past & Present

Cliff Lipson/CBS

Forget 21 — it’s all about a pair of eights in Las Vegas when Reba McEntire marks her sweet 16th time hosting the Academy of Country Music Awards.

We asked the icon to give us her inside take on ACMs past and present.

Safest Bet to Win

With six nominations, including Duo of the Year, “Dan + Shay,” McEntire predicts.

Friendliest Competition

“Emmylou Harris and I were up for Female Vocalist of the Year in 1984…[and] before the show, she said, ‘Good luck, Reba.’ I replied, ‘To you too, Emmylou!’ and she said, ‘No, I’ve had my time. This is your year. Good luck.’ I was totally shocked to win that night. I’ll never forget her sweetness and sincerity.”

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From the Dolly Parton tribute to surprising collaborations like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Post Malone.

Cutest Couple

McEntire tips her hat to ACM staples Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. (The latter also tops her pick for the annual kudofest’s best dressed.)

Worst Wardrobe Malfunction

“I regret any outfit that was uncomfortable and hard to get around in,” McEntire says — but a 1995 look literally stopped her in her tracks: “I had to walk down a platform, and the hem of [my] skirt got hung on something, so I stopped there like it was a planned thing and sang my song!”

(Cliff Lipson/CBS)

Most Fun Seat in the House

She’s biased: McEntire names beau Skeeter Lasuzzo as her choice for audience companion. “He’s a geologist, a gas-and-oil man. I’m flattered he is so interested in my business!”

Her Best Chance for an AMC Nod Next Year

Take your pick: McEntire’s latest, Stronger Than the Truth, is chock-full of songs rooted in the genre’s classic sound. “It is the most ‘country’ album I have ever recorded,” she says.

Life of the After Party

“Me! I’ll be on a very restricted diet a month before the show, so I’m gonna pig out afterward!”

54th Academy of Country Music Awards, Sunday, April 7, 8/7c, CBS