Reba McEntire, Luke Bryan, Alan Jackson Highlight CMA Country Christmas [Pictures]
Reba McEntire becoming the fifth Little Big Town member is good, but Chris Young singing with Alan Jackson during the 2017 CMA Country Christmas special is great! The show kept it country this year, with 19 songs aimed to get you in the holiday spirit.
During the Nov. 14 taping for the Nov. 27 ABC telecast (8PM ET) Jackson and Young performed "There's a New Kid in Town" as recorded on Young's 2016 It Must Be Christmas holiday album, which was a tribute to the Jackson an Keith Whitley duet recorded on Honky Tonk Christmas in 1993.
"I wanted this song on that album because my favorite Christmas record growing up was the Alan Jackson christmas record," Young told Taste of Country and other media prior to the taping. "I actually sang where he sang and had him sing where Keith Whitley sang on his version. This song is just super important to me."
The newest Country Music Hall of Famer (Jackson) also performed "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." It was the second time both men took part in the yearly Christmas celebration. McEntire was also celebrating her second appearance on the show, but 2017 marks her first as host. In addition to leading the other stars to tell stories of their Christmas plans and Christmases past, the legend performed a medley of classics, a solo version of "Holly Jolly Christmas" and two collaborations. Her version of "Mary, Did You Know?" with Little Big Town is a highlight, with several outlets (including People) reporting that McEntire dove right into their four-part harmonies to effectively become the fifth member.
Gospel singer CeCe Winans is the only non-country performer, which is a change from 2016 when artists like Andra Day and Idina Menzel performed. Kelsea Ballerini will sing "White Christmas." Lady Antebellum will perform "Silver Bells" and "This Christmas" and Jackson sings a solo version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Chistmas." Luke Bryan performed at his second CMA Country Christmas special and sang "O Holy Night."
"I've always loved that song," Bryan said backstage during the taping of the show. "I remember being a kid always loving John Berry's version of that ... it's pretty incredible. I'd always try to sing along with him and I told my self one day if my voice ever gets there I'd try it."
One other notable performance is Trisha Yearwood's cover of the famous Dolly Parton Christmas song "Hard Candy Christmas." "What was I thinking," Yearwood asked, joking backstage during the taping of the show.
"I think the key to covering anything Dolly Parton has ever recorded is to try not to do the Dolly licks," she says. "So it's a tribute to her version but to try to do all those little curls just makes you look bad."
Yearwood's fans will recognize the version from her album of Christmas duets with husband Garth Brooks. This is he second straight year doing the CMA Country Christmas special. She says she's looking forward to this Christmas because it comes after their three-year world tour ends in Nashville, meaning it's a true holiday break.
2017 CMA Country Christmas Set List (Alphabetical by Artist):
Alan Jackson, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
Brett Eldredge, "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"
Brett Eldredge, "Winter Wonderland"
CB30, "The Christmas Song"
CeCe Winans (With the Born Again Church Choir), "Joy to the World"
Chris Young, (With Alan Jackson), "There's a New Kid in Town"
Dan + Shay, "Do You Hear What I Hear"
Dustin Lynch, "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"
Lady Antebellum, "Silver Bells"
Lady Antebellum, "This Christmas"
Little Big Town, "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?"
Luke Bryan, "O Holy Night"
Kelsea Ballerini, "White Christmas"
Reba McEntire, "Holly Jolly Christmas"
Reba McEntire, "O, Come All Ye Faithful" / "O Little Town of Bethlehem" / "I'll Be Home for Christmas"
Reba McEntire (With Kelsea Ballerini), "Jingle Bells"
Reba McEntire (With Little Big Town), "Mary, Did You Know?"
Trisha Yearwood, "Hard Candy Christmas"
Trisha Yearwood, "Santa Baby"
Listen to the Top Country Christmas Songs Ever!