Jennifer Nettles Hosts ‘CMA Country Christmas’ [Update]

Country singer and actress Jennifer Nettles is hosting this year’s CMA Country Christmas TV special which originally aired on Monday, November 28 on ABC. It will re-air on Saturday, December 24 on ABC. Filmed at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville just weeks ago in front of a live audience, the two hour special boasts a huge list of talented guests and not all of them are usually associated with country music.

As with every year, the star-studded special features favorite country music stars who will share favorite Christmas classic and new holiday tunes while also sharing some of their favorite Christmas traditions and memories.

As with other years, the audience who attended the live performance were asked to bring with them an unwrapped toy to be donated to deserving children in Middle Tennessee. Last year, the special received more than 5,000 unwrapped gifts that were given to the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.

“The taping of ‘CMA Country Christmas’ has become a treasured holiday tradition for Nashville families,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA chief executive officer. “And watching CMA Country Christmas on ABC is equally important as generations gather to celebrate the season.”

Amy Grant performs at the CMA Country Christmas special.
Amy Grant performs at the CMA Country Christmas special. [Image by ABC]

This year’s performances include Kelly Clarkson singing “Please Come Home for Christmas (Bells Will Be Ringing),” Brett Eldredge singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and Kelsea Ballerini singing “My Favorite Things.” The special also features special number with Nettles singing with Andra Day (“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”), Nettles singing with Idina Menzel (“Little Drummer Boy”), and a trio with Nettles, Trisha Yearwood, and Loretta Lynn (“Country Christmas”).

CMA Country Christmas also includes performances by Amy Grant and Jordan Smith (who have new Christmas albums out this year), Joey Alexander, Rascal Flatts, Kacey Musgraves, Chris Young, Brad Paisley, and Sarah McLachlan.

Rascal Flatts
Rascal Flatts performs during the CMA Country Chirstmas TV special. [Image by ABC)

This will be Nettles seventh time hosting, and it coincides with her first Christmas album, To Celebrate Christmas. Produced by Big Machine Records, Nettles’ album includes a duets with Idina Menzel (“Little Drummer Boy”) and Andra Day (“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”) and also features a song written by Dolly Parton (“Circle of Love,” which is also featured on upcoming TV movie, Christmas of Many Colors in which she also stars in.

Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love continues the story of Parton’s life where last year’s Coat of Many Colors left off. Nettles plays Parton’s mother, Avie Lee Parton, opposite of Ricky Schroder, who plays Parton’s father, Robert Lee.

“This one is centered around a gift of the magi, somewhat that she and her brothers and her sisters and her dad got together in order to try to buy her mom a wedding ring,” Nettles told Sounds Like Nashville. “There’s also in it fun nativity scene craziness at the school and there’s a near death experience in a mine and there’s a near death experience in a blizzard and it’s high drama and high laughter.”

Brett Eldridge
Brett Eldridge performs during the CMA Country Christmas special. [Image by ABC]

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The CMA Country Christmas special caps off Jennifer Nettles’ busy year releasing her critically-acclaimed sophomore album, Playing With Fire, and joining legendary rock band Cheap Trick for a “CMT Crossroads” that earned a CMT Music Awards nomination for “Performance of the Year.”

The CMA Country Christmas special will air on Saturday, December 24 at 9:00 p.m. on ABC.

[Featured Image by ABC]