CMA Awards: Darius Rucker Cracks Joke About Reba McEntire, Rex Linn and Carrie Underwood

Reba McEntire might be head over heels in love with new boyfriend Rex Linn, but she apparently has one very strict rule. Taking on hosting duties during Wednesday night's CMA Awards, McEntire and her boyfriend, who accompanied her down the red carpet, faced some jokes from fellow host Darius Rucker, with Carrie Underwood being pulled into the mix.

As the show opened at the Music City Center in Nashville, Rucker couldn’t help but seize the opportunity to crack a few jokes at the couples' expense. In the opening monologue, he warned Linn, a 63-year-old actor who stars on CSI: Miami, to "always stay six feet away from" Underwood, who was sitting in the audience. McEntire was quick to fire back, joking, "that's not social distancing, that’s Reba rule."

Thankfully, it doesn’t seem that McEntire truly holds any hard feelings towards Underwood. Just days before taking the stage Wednesday night, the two country crooners teased that they were working together on a new project. On Nov. 6, musician and producer John Carter Cash took to Instagram with a post captioned with nothing more than the hashtag "secret project." The post was accompanied by a gallery of images of McEntire and Underwood at Cash Cabin.

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Although Cash did not give away any details regarding what the secret project could be, many speculated the songstresses could be collaborating on a possible duet. Located just outside of Nashville and built by Johnny Cash in 1979, Cash Cabin was converted into a recording space and has been the home of projects by a number of artists, including the likes of Cash and Loretta Lynn.

Whatever the project is, it will not mark the first time that McEntire and Underwood have worked together. Just last year, the duo co-hosted the CMA Awards, a role that Underwood had held alongside Brad Paisley for 11 years. During the 54th Annual CMA Awards, however, she decided to pass the duty onto somebody else, with McEntire and Rucker filling taking up the role. Underwood, meanwhile, attended the event as a nominee. She was nominated for both Entertainer of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year. Those trophies, however, went to Eric Church and Maren Morris.