ABC/CMALuke Bryan, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, Jake Owen and Darius Rucker are among the stars kicking off the Christmas season on ABC's CMA Country Christmas Monday night. Jennifer Nettles hosts the show for a fourth year, and she promises to deliver two hours of holiday fun for the whole family.
"You can expect a lot of the traditional Christmas songs that you love sung with a new twist," Jennifer says. "You can expect entertainment that everybody can come and start their own Christmas tradition with, and say, 'You know what, every year we watch CMA Country Christmas.' It'll be your new family tradition."
Jennifer teams up with R&B star Mary J. Blige this year for a duet on "Do You Hear What I Hear." Says Jennifer, "I was super-flattered at that -- the opportunity now to get to perform with her, because, in my opinion, she's the godmother of R&B."
Mary has a new holiday album out, A Mary Christmas, and she jumped at the chance to perform on CMA Country Christmas. She explains, "I'm just so happy, because I'm a huge fan of a lot of the artists that are on here. I watch a lot of the country music awards shows, and it's such a good show. I wish I could be here sometimes, 'cause it's so good. But I’m just excited."
Luke Bryan teams up with Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson for a performance of their duet, "Hairy Christmas," which appears on the new Duck Dynasty Christmas album, Duck the Halls. Several other members of the Robertson clan appear on the show, too.
Willie says, "It's quite an honor to be invited here with our Christmas album out now, Duck the Halls, we really wanted to show up when we could actually contribute something."
Lady Antebellum performs their version of "I'll Be Home for Christmas" on the show, but they're just as excited about everyone else's performances. The group's Dave Haywood explains, "It's a lot of fun for us to see Rascal Flatts and Jake Owen and Jennifer Nettles all here performing. You know, we've done a Christmas record ourselves, and a lot of these country artists have as well. So, it's neat to see everyone's take on a lot of these Christmas classics."
As for the other CMA Country Christmas performances, Darius Rucker delivers his take on the John Lennon classic, "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," while Jake Owen brings a sunny vibe singing "Mele Kalikimaka." Hunter Hayes, Trace Adkins, Kellie Pickler, Lucy Hale, Sheryl Crow and a few characters from Peanuts round out the list of celebrities making appearances.
CMA Country Christmas airs Monday night at 9 ET on ABC.
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