The Project host Jessie Mulligan admits to being more than a little nervous MCing the newly rebranded Aotearoa Music Awards for 2020 on Sunday, November 15 at Spark Arena.
"It's one of the most high-pressure, high-profile MC jobs there is. Plus there are some huge shoes to fill and the people watching can be unforgiving, so I won't be reading Twitter during the ad breaks, Mulligan tells Spy.
Those shoes have been filled by many of his contemporaries, including Project co-host Kanoa Lloyd, Taika Waititi and Oliver Driver, and Mulligan is right, the TV audience can be brutal if the host doesn't get the mix right.
Mulligan suits the vibe of this year's awards, which have been reimagined to have more heart, more intimacy and less party. However, he will be very disappointed if there are none of the usual rock-star antics.
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He will act as ringmaster for the televised two-hour portion of the show, which will be broadcast live on Three from 8.30pm.
"We want to pay respect to the artists and the year they've had, but we also definitely want the fun stuff too: the red carpet, the VIP misbehaviour and no doubt an open bar," Mulligan says.
He will be busy as the show has more than18 live performances and multiple legacy-award winners.
"There's normally one legacy-award winner but after the year we've had, we decided to take the opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge multiple incredible Kiwi artists both past and present who deserve to be inducted to the hall of fame."
He says that thanks to Covid we'll have a unique line-up of current artists performing on a specially designed stage that has to be seen to be believed. Described as a Theatre in the Round stage it was inspired by the legendary Later at the Royal Albert Hall with Jools Holland showcase.
Even though the nominees won't be announced until October 8, there may be some uncomfortable moments if any of Mulligan's favourites don't make the stage.
He currently loves The Beths, Reb Fountain, Teeks, Tom Scott and Nadia Reid and is especially proud of Lorde and Benee.