This year's CMA Country Christmas special featured a handful of performers from outside the country music world, including violinist Lindsey Stirling. The Dancing With The Stars alum performed twice during the special and earned rave reviews for her artistic work.
Stirling first performed "Carol of the Bells," accompanied by a group of ruffled dancers carrying candelabras. She also performed a version of "Angels We Have Heard on High," which was previously performed during the show by Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant. They performed Smith's re-interpretation of the classic, titled "Gloria."
Stirling recorded both Christmas standards for her new holiday album, Warmer in the Winter.
Both performances earned rave reviews from fans, including McEntire herself.
"I just can’t get over how creative and talented @LindseyStirling is! If I tried to dance and play the violin like that...wait, no...I’m not trying that," McEntire wrote.
"Still blows me away how [Stirling] dances and plays. She knows how to turn a performance into an experience. Just amazing," one fan wrote.
"That was one of the most beautiful performances I’ve ever seen," another fan tweeted to Stirling, adding the hashtag "Bravo."
"Sometimes I can barely walk without tripping and [Lindsey Stirling] is over here twirling and playing the violin UPSIDE DOWN!!! #wow," added another fan.
Stirling, 32, shot to fame as a quarter-finalist on America's Got Talent in 2010 and competed in Dancing With The Stars season 25. She finished in second place. She made a guest appearance in an October episode to dance with eventual winner Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess.
The musician first released her Christmas album Warmer in the Winter last year. In October, she released a deluxe edition that includes five extra songs. The record became the No. 1 holiday album in the country, notes Forbes.
"I really lean into the fun, playful, whimsical side of my music. And I put my own twist on these," Stirling told Forbes of the album. "And also leaning into the really emotional ability that a violin gives to make certain songs a little bit darker. So I leaned into both sides. I went way more whimsical with some, like ‘Sugar Plum Fairy,’ making it super light and funky at times. But then it goes really dark and intense, and I think that was one of the fun things about combining a live orchestra and electronic music together. Most of these arrangements have both a live orchestra and electronic synths and these really dark sounds that we pulled in through that."
Photo credit: ABC