Reba McEntire, Darius Rucker Honor Mac Davis With ‘In the Ghetto’ at CMAs
Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker briefly stepped out of their co-hosting shoes at the 2020 CMA Awards on Wednesday night (Nov. 11) to perform a rendition of "In the Ghetto." The song, made famous by Elvis Presley, was written by Mac Davis, who died this year.
Gospel legend Cece Winans introduced the pair, who paid homage to Mac Davis and noting that now, more than ever, is the time to lend a helping hand when and where it's needed.
While McEntire and Rucker hit every note as co-hosts, they also proved they can quickly switch gears to deliver a moving duet. The two blended perfectly, trading verses and harmonies. They opted to stay close to the classic, but added their own vocal nuances.
Reba and Darius wore matching all-black during the tribute, with McEntire sporting a silver cross necklace. With no band on stage, McEntire and Rucker put an emphasis on the song (and songwriter) they were honoring.
Leading up to the ceremony, both stars remained pretty tight-lipped about the details of their joint performance until Wednesday morning. Rucker appeared on ABC's Live With Kelly and Ryan the week prior to the awards show, just after his performance with McEntire had been announced, but he didn't drop any hints about what viewers could expect. What he did reveal, though, was how much he was looking forward to taking the stage with his co-host.
"We've got something that we're really excited about -- and no, I can't tell you [what it is]," the singer teased.
When it comes to hosting duties, Rucker is the greener of the two stars. McEntire has helmed the CMA Awards four times in the past, but Rucker was a first-time host when he stepped out onto the stage for Wednesday night's show — and he admitted that he was "very nervous" about living up to McEntire's stellar onstage skills.
"'Cause I've never done anything like that before," the singer shared with talk show hosts Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest. "And it's funny because my manager called me and said, you know, 'Are you sitting down?' And so my first thought was, 'Oh, goodness.'"
Of course, the CMA Awards have a long history of bringing dynamic duos to the stage: Former host Carrie Underwood's decade-plus stint helming the show usually included co-host Brad Paisley, and viewers came to know and love the two stars' onstage banter. Brooks & Dunn have also hosted the awards show in the past.
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