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‘CMA Country Christmas’ Preview: Faith Hill, Scotty McCreery + More Perform

On Thursday night (Nov. 10), Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena was transformed into a winter wonderland as some of country music’s biggest stars came together to sing holiday favorites to the packed house. As seen in the above gallery of pictures, Scotty McCreery, Faith Hill, Keith Urban, Lauren Alaina, Kellie Pickler, Sugarland, Rascal Flatts, Martina McBride, Darius Rucker, Brad Paisley, Little Big Town, Vince Gill, Amy Grant and Brian Setzer were among the artists who participated in the special, which is set to be televised next month.

After Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles opened the show with ‘All I Want for Christmas is You,’ she then switched hats to host mode to introduce Rucker to the stage  or a performance of ‘Winter Wonderland.’ Alaina was up next, as she and Nettles sat in the middle of a group of kids talking about what they wanted Santa to bring them this year. The ‘American Idol’ star said that Christmas has already come early for her with the success of her album and career taking off after leaving the show, but if she happens to land on the “Nice List,” a little makeup wouldn’t hurt. She then gave a flawless performance of ‘Grown Up Christmas List.’

Rascal Flatts took the stage for a moving rendition of ‘White Christmas,’ followed by Gill’s performance of ‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.’ He then took a seat next to Nettles and Miss Piggy for a comical skit, which led into a duet between Gill and Miss Piggy of ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside.’ After the final note, Gill dipped the puppet back and planted a big smooch on her snout, and the audience couldn’t quite contain their laughter and applause. “If there’s a God in heaven, please say that’s a wrap,” Gill joked to the camera crew and producers filming the special.

Later performances throughout the evening included an a capella version of ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ as sung by Hill, Urban’s take on the classic tune ‘The Christmas Song,’ Little Big Town singing ‘Santa Clause Is Back in Town’ (which featured Urban playing lead guitar), McCreery’s beautifully sung ‘The First Noel,’ Sugarland singing ‘Silent Night’ and the Paisley/Setzer collaboration on ‘Sleigh Ride’ and ‘Boogie Woogie Santa Claus.’ The evening came to an end with all the stars coming back together for the finale of ‘Jingle Bells,’ which had the arena’s audience members on their feet as fake snow blew from the rafters over the crowd.

Look for the ‘CMA Country Christmas’ holiday special to air on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 9PM ET on ABC.

Watch Scotty McCreery’s Performance of ‘The First Noel’

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