If the early promos are any indication, Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley should be affable and funny co-hosts of the ACM Awards on Sunday. Unfortunately, the same may not be said of their ability to capture the complexities of British life in song.
The pair paid a visit to the Late Late Show with James Corden on Thursday to help reach the host’s native Britain, which he admitted has lagged behind in helping the global popularity of country music. Naturally, Corden — dressed in a robe fit for a monarch — turned to the pair of superstars to write and sing what he called “Britain’s first-ever country music hit” with him.
Bryan and Bentley appeared in preposterous “British” costumes, which for Bryan was a member of the Queen’s Guard and in Bentley’s case was Sherlock Holmes, pipe and all. The tune, “Honky Tonk in the UK,” was teeming with Brit-specific references: telly, David Cameron, football (not the American kind), Benedict Cumberbatch, Wimbledon. A helpful lyrical guide complete with bouncing Harry Potter head was included.
By the third verse, Corden wasn’t so sure this slapdash list of British things had much in the way of nuance. “Guys, can I be honest?” he said, momentarily interrupting. “I love the song, it just feels like it’s all stereotypes. Isn’t there any other stuff you can sing about Britain?”
“We found it on Google,” explained Bentley. “We Googled ‘Britain.'”
“British stuff,” agreed Bryan. “We put it in the song.”
“It’s a hit, trust us!” added Bentley.
While they may not be country music’s answer to Adele, Bryan and Bentley should at least get some laughs — free of dry British humor — during the Sunday broadcast of the ACM Awards, which airs live at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.