Reba McEntire says politics have always been off limits during her many ACM Awards monologues, and that won't change in 2019. During a recent interview the host explained why and reflected back on a moment from 2018 that took all of the tension out of the room.

That moment is the now-famous, "I guess they finally figured out that it only takes one woman to do the job of two men" joke. Think about what was happening in April 2018 — it was country music's first trip to Las Vegas after the Route 91 shooting, and other awards shows had become emotionally-charged as the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements launched. The political climate in America was increasingly divisive. People were tuning in to skewer her and the ACM Awards.

But in large part, reviews were positive.

"We're all buddies, we're all friends. Absolutely, it released all the tension," McEntire says. "Especially with Luke (Bryan) and Blake (Shelton) being right there on the front row and having fun with them. It broke the ice."

McEntire is one of the artists who will appear during Taste of Country's ACM Awards Live Tailgate party beginning at 7PM ET on YouTube on Sunday (April 7). Red carpet analysis, historical Top 5 ACM moments, interviews and predictions will all get you ready for the 2019 ACMs, which start at 8PM ET on CBS.

Her joke was scripted that night, but McEntire admits she didn't anticipate the enthusiastic response that, one year later, seems obvious. If you watch her opening segment from 2018 you'll find the "Freedom" singer keeps it clean. Unlike previous CMA Awards, she avoided politics.

"When they asked me to do the ACMs again they said, 'Is there anything you don't want to talk about?' ... and I said 'Nothing political.' This is country music we're not gonna give that air time. I wanna talk about and honor and lift up country music."

"This is a family show, we wanna keep all the family in front of the television watching the whole awards show so keep it a nice, uptempo, up-attitude and not make anybody go 'Oh, she said that about so-and-so, turn it off,'" she furthers. McEntire's Stronger Than the Truth album came out Friday (April 5).

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood adopted a similar mantra at the 2018 CMA Awards, but that was the first time the pair didn't get political. Speaking to Taste of Country, Paisley echoed McEntire's longstanding belief that in this day, the payoff of a good joke just isn't worth the criticism.

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