Jon Pardi lights up talking about his upcoming Joe Diffie tribute at the 2020 CMA Awards performance like you'd expect a man to light up talking about winning the Entertainer of the Year award.

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As long as there are no technical issues, it should be an easy night for Pardi, who is also nominated in the Album of the Year category.

“Gonna sing a bad--- song from an awesome artist that I grew up listening to. Dang! That’s easy," Pardi tells Taste of Country Nights. "That’s like honky-tonkin’ we talking about. That’s an exciting performance."

Diffie died at age 61 in March, after a short battle with the novel coronavirus.

Before moving to Nashville and finding success with songs from his Write You a Song album (2014), the 35-year-old Pardi played clubs and honky-tonks in California. However, he compares this performance to performing for tips along Lower Broadway institutions like Tootsies Orchid Lounge.

"That's like being downtown Nashville, being up there, 'Oh, you wanna hear 'Pickup Man'? Alright, $100 in the (tip) box,'" he says.

Come to think of it, a tip jar isn't a bad idea.

"Hell yeah I’m gonna bring a tip jar out there," Pardi says of the CMAs, presumably joking. "Like, 'Luke — Luke Bryan, pass this around, man.'"

Pardi's Diffie tribute is one of three honoring country artists who died in 2020. In addition, Little Big Town will tribute Kenny Rogers and a collection of stars led by Jason Aldean will remember Charlie Daniels. There are more than 20 performances announced for the 2020 CMA Awards, which begin at 8PM ET on Wednesday night (Nov. 11).

Pardi was one of nearly 20 artists who talked to Taste of Country and Taste of Country Nights radio prior to the show.

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