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‘CMA Country Christmas’ Rings In With Heartwarming Hits

Reba McEntire returns to host the end-of-year special.


Last night the CMA Country Christmas special aired on ABC, packed with country stars, talented friends and holiday treats!

Second-time host Reba McEntire kicked it off with welcoming words and humor, “Merry Christmas everyone, I’m so thrilled to be back here with you all tonight and we’re celebrating tonight at the Curb Events Center at Belmont University!”

She carried on, “Maybe for Christmas they’ll give me an honorary degree. Dr. McEntire sounds pretty good don’t you think?” as the crowd laughed, she further joked “Christmas is a little different from when I was growing up. Nowadays kids text their wish list to Santa. He responds with an emoji.”

Once she mused on Santa a bit, she kicked off the show’s first song “(Everybody’s Waitin’ For) The Man With the Bag,” where a troupe of dancing elves came on stage for a feel-good, classic Christmas performance.

The show continued on for a fast two hours.

Brett Eldredge did a jazzy take on “Silver Bells,” just like the rendition on Glow Deluxe, Eldredge’s 2018 holiday album. Check it out:

Old Dominion put a country twang on Beach Boys’ holiday favorite, “Little Saint Nick.”

Amid performances, the show would break for interviews and behind-the-scenes moments. Mid-show Brett Eldredge introduced Macy’s Believe Campaign for Make-a-Wish, where people can write letters to Santa. Macy’s matches with a $1 donation to Make-A-Wish per letter. We then got to meet a child benefitting from the program, a Florida Georgia Line fan named Colin. 

We got to see Colin meet Florida Georgia Line backstage at this year’s CMA Awards. Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard told Colin, “This is really what it’s all about, this is more rewarding to us, getting to meet guys like you and put smiles on y’all’s faces than anything else. So we’re excited and this is a huge honor for us.” The band then hung out with Colin on the red carpet for the awards.

Also throughout the show, McEntire would join artists to talk about their favorite Christmas memories. When Brad Paisley went on stage McEntire asked whether he opened presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning as a kid, “Christmas morning of course! After Santa came we would get up, there they were, hopefully, most years opened a few lumps of coal in my day.”

Toward the end, McEntire came back on stage for a gorgeous rendition of “The Christmas Song.” Watch!

In case you missed it and want to see the full show in all its holiday glory, you can view it on ABC.com HERE or Hulu HERE. We highly suggest snuggling up with your family for a viewing party or even playing it on the background at your holiday party. It’s a treat for all to see – check out the full list of performers and songs below.

CMA Country Christmas 2018 Performers and Songs:

  1. Reba McEntire – “(Everybody’s Waitin’ For) The Man With the Bag,”
  2. Brett Eldredge – “Silver Bells”
  3. Martina McBride – It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
  4. Tony Bennet and Diana Krall – “Love is Here to Stay”
  5. Tony Bennet and Diana Krall – “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
  6. Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith – “Gloria”
  7. Old Dominion – “Little Saint Nick”
  8. Brett Young – “Mary Did You Know”
  9. Dan + Shay – “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”
  10. Lindsey Stirling – “Carol of the Bells”
  11. Brett Eldredge – “Holly Jolly Christmas”
  12. Brad Paisley – “Away in a Manger”
  13. Reba and The Isaacs “What Child Is This”
  14. Martina McBride – “Happy Holiday (It’s the Holiday Season)”
  15. Diana Krall – “Jingle Bells” jazzy rendition on piano
  16. Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith “To Be Together”
  17. Dustin Lynch “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”
  18. Lindsey Stirling “Angels We Have Heard on High”
  19. Reba McEntire – “The Christmas Song”
  20. Reba McEntire, Dan + Shay, Lindsey Stirling, Dustin Lynch, Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, The Isaacs and Brett Eldredge – “Let It Snow”

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