Stars Shine for the Holidays on “CMA Country Christmas”

Kelsea Ballerini, Dan + Shay, Mickey Guyton, Jewel, Charles Kelley, Martina McBride, David Nail, Host Jennifer Nettles, Pentatonix, LeAnn Rimes, Darius Rucker, Brian Setzer, Michael W. Smith, and Lindsey Stirling Perform “CMA Country Christmas” Which Airs Dec. 3 on the ABC Television Network

CMA Country Christmas key art with Jennifer Nettles
Jennifer Nettles hosts "CMA Country Christmas," taped at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville and airing Thursday, Dec. 3 at 8/7c on the ABC Television Network.
Jennifer Nettles hosts “CMA Country Christmas.”

Christmas came early this weekend for country music fans, as ABC’s “CMA Country Christmas” filmed its annual TV special at the Grand Ole Opry House.

Some of the biggest stars in music have come together to celebrate the holidays on “CMA Country Christmas,” a two-hour special hosted for the sixth year by Jennifer Nettles airing Thursday, Dec. 3 (9:00-11:00 PM/ET) on the ABC Television Network.

Taped at the Grand Ole Opry House, the special is a celebration of the season featuring inspired performances from Kelsea Ballerini, Dan + Shay, Mickey Guyton,Jewel, Charles Kelley, Martina McBride, David Nail, Nettles, Pentatonix, LeAnn RimesDarius Rucker,Brian Setzer, Michael W. Smith, and Lindsey Stirling.

Nettles, a multi-award-winning singer/songwriter, is gearing up to release her debut single on Big Machine Records this month and is currently in the studio working on her second solo album. In 2008, she took home the CMA Award for Song of the Year for penning the No. 1 Platinum-selling hit, “Stay.” In addition to making her Broadway debut as Roxy Hart in the Tony Award-winning musical “Chicago” earlier this year, she recently joined the cast of the Dolly Parton television biopic, “Coat of Many Colors,” slated to air Dec. 10.

Kelsea Ballerini performs on "CMA Country Christmas," taped at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville and airing Thursday, Dec. 3 at 8/7c on the ABC Television Network.
Kelsea Ballerini performs on “CMA Country Christmas.”

Nettles opened the show with “(Everybody’s Waitin’ For) The Man with the Bag,” a swinging song and dance number straight out of a 1950s Broadway musical. There was a nostalgic mood backstage, too, as performers shared their favorite Christmas memories and the annual traditions they can’t skip.

“Me and my mom have this tradition every year, since I was super little,” Kelsea Ballerini said. “On Christmas Eve, we buy each other pajamas and put them on in the morning, and we wear them throughout the day, no matter where we go. … Last year it was picking up a car in the shop (in) a onesie with a butt-flap. We like to get embarrassing for each other.”

Recently, Ballerini earned her first-ever American Music Awards (AMA) nomination for 2015 Favorite Female Artist – Country. The fan-voted awards show will air live from Los Angeles on November 22nd at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Voting is now open via AMAvote.com.

Lindsey Stirling performs on "CMA Country Christmas," taped at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville and airing Thursday, Dec. 3 at 8/7c on the ABC Television Network.
Lindsey Stirling performs on “CMA Country Christmas,”

Nashville is home for many of this year’s performers, but some, like the Los Angeles-based Lindsey Stirling, were visiting for CMA week. She may be back soon — to stay.

“I felt so welcomed by the country community,” the YouTube star said. “I’ve decided I officially want to move to Nashville after this experience. Everyone’s so kind, and the country music scene is like a giant family.”

For information, visit CMAchristmas.com.

“CMA Country Christmas” is a production of the Country Music Association. Robert Deaton is the Executive Producer, Paul Miller is the Director, and David Wild is the writer. The special will be shot in high definition and broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC’s selected HDTV format, with 5.1 channel surround sound.