Performers Announced for 'CMA Country Christmas' Special

Performers have been announced for this year's CMA Country Christmas special, with Kelsea Ballerini, Gabby Barrett, Dan + Shay, Florida Georgia Line, Lady A, Little Big Town, Tim McGraw, Thomas Rhett and Darius Rucker with Lindsey Stirling all set to help ring in the holidays. This year's special was taped in September with no audience present due to the coronavirus pandemic and will be the 11th annual CMA holiday special.

"The idea for this year's show was to do a throwback of the great Christmas specials of the 1960s and 1970s," Robert Deaton, CMA Country Christmas Executive Producer, said in a statement. "Andy Williams, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra all had classic Christmas specials where the viewer was invited into the homes of the host to celebrate the holiday like a best friend coming to visit. That was what we wanted to create for this year's show. Instead of a big flashy production, we took a page from those iconic specials to say, 'Come relax, and let’s celebrate the holidays together.'"

Rhett and his wife, author Lauren Akins, will host the show for the first time. The couple announced their news on Good Morning America on Wednesday, and Rhett shared that he and his wife "can't wait for you all to get to watch that and get into the holiday spirit with us."

"I feel like this year, everyone's needed things to celebrate and look forward to and so it was like the second Halloween was over...I started decorating for Christmas," Akins added. CMA Country Christmas airs Monday, Nov. 30 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.


This will be the Akins family's first Christmas as a family of five after daughter Lennon Love was born in February, joining big sisters Willa Gray and Ada James. Speaking to his record label, Rhett shared that his family has "kind of come up with our own" holiday traditions.

"We always watch The Santa Clause at least a thousand times before Christmas actually gets there, and we still kind of celebrate Christmas five or six days after Christmas, as well, because we’re not ready for it to end," he shared. "And we always decorate our house and we love Christmas. It’s our favorite time of the year, and as our kids get older, hopefully they can help us make some new traditions."