CMA Country Christmas highlights
Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles hosted the first ever CMA Country Christmas last night, kicking off the holiday season with songs, memories and laughter with the likes of Kellie Pickler, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley and more.
With Thanksgiving over, many have already decked their halls and decorated their yards for the upcoming Christmas holiday. A crew of country faves got together to make the season official with a 90-minute hoedown that included rocking performances tempered with fireside family chats, holiday cheer and Christmas memories.
The CMA Christmas special was actually filmed the day after the 44th Annual CMA Awards, on November 11, when country's faves were already gathered in Nashville, and aired last night, November 29 on ABC.
Jennifer Nettles in a winter wonderland
As hostess of the first CMA Country Christmas, Jennifer Nettles got to show off several costumes, as well as perform a few songs.
"I think we have to slow down sometimes and really be able to appreciate the significance of certain moments," Nettles said during the show. "It is like anyone else's lives, when you get going on hyper speed sometimes you have to remind yourself to slow down and really take it in."
Nettles, Sugarland bandmate Kristian Bush and Little Big Town started the night with some Winter Wonderland magic. Sugarland also covered O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, while Little Big Town returned to perform Go Tell It on the Mountain.
Country stars sing Christmas classics
This year's country queen Martina McBride rocked Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and O Holy Night, while Darius Rucker sang a tune from his own repertoire, Candy Cane Christmas.
Rascal Flatts gave a shout-out to servicemen and their families with I'll Be Home for Christmas, which included video footage from Fort Campbell Air Force base. They also got the crowd on its feet for an a capella rendition of God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.
Kellie Pickler wore a hot little red number for Santa Baby, while LeAnn Rimes got sexy for Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree with a host of hunky sailors. Rimes also went classic for White Christmas, shared childhood memories and even teared up when talking about the support she's received regarding her romance with Eddie Cibrian.
"Last year was a very difficult time for me," Rimes said. "I wanted to write all of my friends that stood by me this handwritten letter… just telling them how much I loved them."
Sheryl Crow and Brad Paisley teamed up for Run Run Rudolph, but it was the old clips of a 12-year-old Paisley performing his first original song, Born on Christmas Day, that brought the oohs and aahs. Paisley also performed What Child Is This and the three-time CMA awards host and Entertainer of the Year was sure to get in a few laughs, as well.
"The great thing about having kids is you can go to a toy store now and I don't feel like a weirdo," Paisley quipped.
Reba McEntire earned a whole new crowd of fans with her rendition of Here Comes Santa Claus, which was accompanied by a host of Santas handing out gifts for the little ones.
It was a holiday jamboree when everyone got together to close the night with Jingle Bell Rock.