Blake Shelton is ready for the inevitable barbs about him and his ex, Miranda Lambert, at the 49th Country Music Assn. Awards.
"The Voice" mentor, whose divorce from his fellow country superstar shook the world of country music over the summer, told "Late Night" host Seth Meyers on Tuesday that he's willing to let co-hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley "kick me in the face a few times."
Shelton said he knew the jokes about his breakup were coming, especially because of the tight-knit community the country music industry fosters.
"This year's gonna be awkward at the CMAs, speaking of jokes," he said, "because we are such family and everybody there is friends."
Much like higher-profile award shows, CMA hosts don't look much further than the members of their audience for quippy fodder, which is heightened because of the intimacy between the nominees.
"There's gotta be one about me and Miranda," Shelton said. "Brad Paisley is not doing his job if he doesn't look down there and go 'HAHA!' He's gotta do it. ... You have to address the elephant in the room, for sure. ... He has to."
Shelton added that everybody in country music is friends: "If you're in the country industry, it really is a family — a big inbred family."
After about four years of marriage, the beloved couple announced their split in July. The revelation came two weeks after Shelton filed and finalized his divorce from the "Little Red Wagon" singer.
"This is not the future we envisioned," their statement said. "And it is with heavy hearts that we move forward separately. We are real people, with real lives, with real families, friends and colleagues. Therefore, we kindly ask for privacy and compassion concerning this very personal matter."
The "Doin' What She Likes" singer, 39, and the country darling, 31, wed in May 2011 on a ranch in Texas Hill Country after a year of engagement that capped about five years of dating. Shelton said that he fell in love with Lambert in 2005 when they performed "You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma" together.
As Us Weekly pointed out, the former couple has attended the CMAs together since 2007 and often accepted joint awards together. This year's show, which airs Nov. 4 on ABC, will be their first solo red carpet in eight years — and we wouldn't be surprised if one or both of them opted to skip it.
Incidentally, both Shelton and Lambert are nominated — two nods for him and four nods for her — and are slated to perform during the telecast.