katherine jenkins cma country christmas abc 325 'CMA Country Christmas': Katherine Jenkins shows off a different sideYou don’t expect to find a classical singer as part of a “CMA Country Christmas.”

That’s exactly what Katherine Jenkins enjoys about joining many country music stars on the annual ABC special airing Thursday, Dec. 20 (and repeating twice the following weekend).

The mezzo-soprano and Season 14 “Dancing With the Stars” runner-up has a new holiday album to promote — “This Is Christmas” — and during the two-hour show’s taping last month, she liked being able to do so among such Nashville staples as Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles (back as host for the third year), Keith Urban, Martina McBride, Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Little Big Town and The Band Perry.

“I must admit that when I first got invited, I wondered if maybe they’d made a mistake,” pleasant Wales native Jenkins tells Zap2it. “Actually, I was really honored when they asked. I’d always wanted to go to Nashville; it was definitely on my list of places I wanted to visit, because of all the music history there, and it was just a lovely show to be part of.”

Country artists have passed through “Dancing With the Stars” as guests. Jenkins admits she didn’t meet many of them during her stint on the show, but adds of the “CMA Country Christmas” talents, “I just loved their interpretations of all the classic Christmas songs. It seemed to be a nice lineup [of talent] and a nice choice of music.

“Everybody was so welcoming,” Jenkins notes. “Since I’m from the classical-music world, this was something completely different, but I absolutely had a ball.”

Jenkins isn’t the only performer out of her wheelhouse with this year’s “CMA Country Christmas,” since R&B star John Legend and pop artist Colbie Caillat also are present.

“He was incredible,” Jenkins  says of Legend. “He did a duet of ‘O Holy Night’ with Jennifer (with whom he also was a judge on ABC’s ‘Duets’ last summer) that I just thought was amazing. I met him and Keith Urban backstage, and it was really exciting.”

Posted by:Jay Bobbin