Danica Patrick revs up for ACAs hosting gig
When her agent pitches a new project, Danica Patrick usually
makes her decisions on the spot – yes or no – with little
hesitation. When the producers of the American Country Awards
called and asked if she’d co-host the show, the NASCAR driver took
her foot off the gas pedal.
”This is one of the first things where I said, `You know, let
me think about that,”’ Patrick said. ”I just was nervous about
doing it, and I kind of wanted to get a few people’s opinion: Do
you think I can handle this? But they made me feel really
comfortable. A few months ago I met with the producers and they
said it’s going to be easy and you’re going to have fun with it.
Hopefully they’re right.”
Patrick will find out when she co-hosts the live Fox broadcast
(8 p.m. EST) Tuesday night in Las Vegas with Trace Adkins. Taylor
Swift leads all nominees with eight, while Blake Shelton and
Florida Georgia Line are up for seven apiece during the fourth
annual awards show.
Patrick knows all these names after an 18-month crash course in
country music that’s left her with the ability to name-check just
about everybody in the genre. She says she never really gave
country a chance growing up in northern Illinois with an avowed
rock `n’ roll fan for a dad. But Miranda Lambert changed all
Lambert invited Patrick to appear in the 2012 video for her hit
”Fastest Girl in Town.” It sounded like fun so Patrick signed up.
But when she arrived, she was embarrassed to admit she wasn’t
familiar with Lambert’s music.
”So I felt bad and I was like, `I should listen to some of her
music,’ so I got her new album and got her Pistol Annies album, and
I was like, `Man, I think I like country music,”’ Patrick said in
a phone interview. ”I was very ignorant about it, but now I know
everything on the radio. I used to listen to more sort of pop, your
Katy Perry, (pop) chart music. But now I look at the country top 20
and I know every single one and I know maybe two of them on the Top
20 pop chart. I would definitely say I’ve transitioned over.”
She went on to pass a pop quiz on her favorites, listing
Lambert’s husband, Shelton, Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett, The Band
Perry, Jake Owen and Lady Antebellum.
Patrick is trying something new in television as well. Long a
popular personality and spokeswoman, the driver has done thousands
of hours of interviews and commercial shots, and even co-hosted
”The View,” but acknowledges she’s got a lot to learn – and
precious few practice laps before the show starts.
”I don’t think hosting dinner at my house really counts,”
Patrick said. ”I’m looking forward to it, and with a guy like
Trace who’s done it for a few years and is such a cool, relaxed guy
and so well-known and respected in the music industry, and he has a
great personality. We’re going to have fun.”
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