kellie pickler cma country christmas 'CMA Country Christmas' highlights and picturesThe Country Music Association broadcast its first ever “CMA Country Christmas” Monday night (Nov. 29) on ABC. It featured not only wonderful performances of the holiday favorites, but humorous memories and stories.

  • We loved Sugarland’s rockabilly “Winter Wonderland” to open the show. Host Jennifer Nettles is such a cutie. On “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” we didn’t actually know she could sound like that — it was very different from her normal style.
  • Brad Paisley hilariously remarked, “The great thing about havin’ kids is you can go to a toy store now and I don’t feel like a weirdo.”
  • LeAnn Rimes did a sex pot version of  “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” while surrounded by sailors. We aren’t sure that’s the best image for her to project, but OK. Her “White Christmas” was nice, but we just can’t listen to anyone but Bing Crosby sing that one.
  • Rascal Flatts‘ “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” over a montage of servicemen and women with their families was a sniffler.
  • We maintain that Martina McBride has one of the best voices on the planet. Her “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” was gorgeous and then her “O Holy Night” just absolutely blew us away. That song is incredibly difficult and she did it perfectly. It brought tears to our eyes.
  • “Candy Cane Christmas” is a song Darius Rucker released last year, but we hadn’t ever really heard it before. We liked it. Also — Hootie!
  • The footage of Brad Paisley as a teenager playing his first song, “Born on Christmas Day,” was adorable. But his “What Child Is This?” was incredible, what a musician.
  • Little Big Town once again showed off their harmonies on “Go Tell It On the Mountain” and it was just as good as their piece of “You Belong With Me” during the CMA Awards.
  • Kellie Pickler and the girls brought us “Santa Baby” — it was pretty good, but we kept getting distracted by the way she’d jiggle on “hurry down the chimney tonight.”
  • “Run Run Rudolph” is one of our least favorite holiday numbers, but Sheryl Crow and Brad Paisley actually made it fun.
  • The all-star finale on “Jingle Bell Rock” was cute, we liked the way they took turns on some solos. Reba McEntire and Jennifer Nettles sounded awesome together, their styles really complement each other. 

What did you think of the first “CMA Country Christmas”? Would you tune in next year?

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Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."