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Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood Keep It Current for 2016 CMA Awards Monologue

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An all-star medley that included over a dozen legendary singers and songs gave way to a CMA Awards monologue focused on today. The election, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill‘s tour and Peyton Manning — yes, Peyton Manning! — were all targets in the 50th anniversary show’s opening minutes.

Parody songs and jabs at Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton held down Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood‘s monologue. A cover of Sawyer Brown’s “The Race Is On” turned into a take on Randy Travis‘ “Forever and Ever, Amen.”

This election is taking forever and ever / Please make it end,” the show’s hosts sang to the approval of the live audience and everyone aside from maybe the candidates.

Paisley insisted the CMA Entertainer of the Year vote was rigged unless he won, and then got out a basket of deplorables. Yep, it was a gift basket full of items like Willie Nelson‘s Potted Meat, Florida Georgia Lime soda and two new Tim and Faith Barbie dolls. Fans met Hawaiian Luau Tim McGraw and Pulled Pork Barbecue Faith Hill. The plastic couple embraced and snuck away to begin their Soul2Soul Tour in a pink touring van. Watching the superstar couple squirm was equal parts uncomfortable and awesome.

This was a fast-paced monologue in comparison to recent years. Joke after joke about modern events and modern country stars led to a well-timed skit with Peyton Manning. “Oh my gosh, there’s Peyton Manning,” Paisley hummed to the familiar Nationwide Insurance theme. The quarterback sang back revealing that he was here for his favorite country singer. Was it Brad? Carrie?

No, it’s not — it’s Kenny Chesney,” Manning sings.

The focus on 50 years didn’t interrupt the modern nature of Underwood and Paisley’s monologue. They did what they always do, just faster. The jokes were well-rehearsed and rapidfire so if you didn’t care for one joke (the Bra of Many Colors perhaps?), you didn’t have to wait long to forget about it.

Watch the Best of Brad and Carrie

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