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Parker McCollum is up for CMA New Artist of the Year, but he’s actually rooting for the competition

ABC/Connie Chornuk

Parker McCollum stands to win his first-ever CMA trophy tonight, November 9: He’s up in the New Artist of the Year category, but if it were up to him, that award would go to one of the other nominees in the category: Cody Johnson.

“You know, it’d be a disappointment to me if he didn’t win it,” Parker tells ABC Audio. “He just deserves it, man. I can’t speak enough about him.”

The two up-and-comers share more than their home state of Texas: Cody has been a generous friend and touring partner to Parker ever since the beginning, he explains.

“He’s been so good to me since I very first started, touring in Texas and stuff, and used to have me open for him all the time,” the singer relates. “I just got all the respect for him in the world. He’s the real deal. If anybody deserves to take that hardware home tonight, it’s certainly him.”

In the meantime, Parker’s making big plans for a glamorous date night with his wife, Hallie Ray Light, and he’s been hard at work on his outfit for quite a while.

“A woman that good-looking, you can’t waste a night to get her all fancied up,” he jokes. “This was actually the first year I was kind of specific on what I wanted to wear. I just saw a video of one of my favorite singers back in the day and said, ‘Man, I’d like to do something like that for the CMAs.’ So I had it all custom-made. It’ll be cool.”

To catch Parker’s special CMA Awards look — and to see who wins New Artist at the show — tune into ABC. The 2022 CMA Awards starts at 8 p.m.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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