Country Music Association Awards 2011 Opening: Hank Williams, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley

Host Brad Paisley, left, Hank Williams Jr., center, and hostess Carrie Underwood. (Photo: AP)

On his GBTV program Wednesday night, Glenn Beck promised viewers that there would be something worth tuning in for during the 45th annual Country Music Association Awards on ABC. So when the show opened with a bit about the Hank Williams Jr. controversy, I know my jaw hit the floor.

After hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood took the stage, Paisley used his guitar to start playing a song to the tune of Williams’s iconic “Monday Night Football” theme that is no more. Underwood stopped him, saying that he couldn’t sing the song because of what happened with Williams (he was fired for making an analogy that involved Hitler and Obama). Paisley quickly, then, changed the song to a version of Williams’s classic “Family Tradition,” which includes the line “why do you drink?” Underwood added the line “before an interview.”

But as the audience chuckled during the obviously light-hearted bit, Williams himself made an appearance behind the hosts. That led Paisley to go back to the original-themed song, with Williams and Underwood joining in.

You can watch it all unfold below:

Rowdy, indeed. And adding to the intrigue: ESPN, which fired Williams and which the opening was obviously skewering, and ABC, which aired the awards, are both owned by the same parent company, Disney.

By the way, you can watch Williams’s sit-down with Glenn — and his live performance — below:

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