ABC/CMAFor the ninth year of the CMA Country Christmas special, ABC’s annual greeting from the Country Music Association relocated to The Curb Center on the campus of Belmont University in Nashville. Reba McEntire returned for the second year in a row to host, sporting a dazzling array of sparkling gowns, plus a few new tricks up her sleeve.

The Country Music Hall of Famer kicked off the show with her version of “The Man with the Bag” — a song she’s never recorded — accompanied by a troupe of adorable young dancers.

This year’s CMA special offered quite a few performances you won’t see anywhere else. Old Dominion tackled the Beach Boys‘ “Little Saint Nick,” while Dan + Shay amped up the intensity on “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” Dustin Lynch delivered the energy on his version of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”

Reba also teamed up with roots gospel group The Isaacs to do “What Child Is This” from her latest yuletide offering, My Kind of Christmas, as well as “The Christmas Song.”

As always, CMA Country Christmas is a top-tier opportunity to promote your new holiday album, and plenty of artists did just that. Brett Eldredge offered “Silver Bells” and “Holly Jolly Christmas” from his new Deluxe edition of Glow.

Martina McBride did “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” and “Happy Holidays” from her new It’s the Holiday Season record, while Brad Paisley reached all the way back to 2006 for “Born on Christmas Day” and “Away in a Manger,” from Brad Paisley Christmas.

Vocalists from outside the country realm like Tony BennettDiana KrallAmy Grant and Michael W. Smith spread some Christmas cheer as well.

2018’s CMA Country Christmas special wrapped with most of the artists joining in to sing “Let It Snow.”

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