Dan + Shay, Kelsea Ballerini, Tim McGraw and more will all take the stage of the 2020 CMA Country Christmas television special. Hosted by Thomas Rhett and his wife, Lauren Akins, the annual holiday affair will feature 10 festive performances.
In addition to Dan + Shay, Ballerini and McGraw, Florida Georgia Line, Little Big Town, Darius Rucker (with violinist Lindsey Stirling), Lady A and Gabby Barrett are all in the 2020 CMA Country Christmas lineup. Rhett, too, will perform in addition to co-hosting the show.
“I’ve watched it the past couple of years, so now to be flip-flopped … to be the person performing it on television, it’s really exciting,” Barrett shares of the experience, which admittedly wasn’t quite the same as in years past due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The show’s 2020 lineup of performers is slimmer — the special itself is only one hour this year, not two — and all performances were recorded without a live audience.
Nonetheless, when the artists recorded their performances in September, the stage was decked out in festive finery. CMA Country Christmas Executive Producer Robert Deaton says the goal for this year’s event was to create a throwback holiday feel
“The idea for this year’s show was to do a throwback of the great Christmas specials of the 1960s and 1970s,” Deaton clarifies. “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,” he adds, “we took a page from those iconic specials to say, ‘Come relax, and let’s celebrate the holidays together.’”
The 2020 CMA Country Christmas TV special will air on Monday night (Nov. 30) on ABC beginning at 9PM ET. This year’s full list of performances is below.
CMA Country Christmas 2020 Performers
Kelsea Ballerini, “Santa Baby”
Gabby Barrett, “The First Noel”
Dan + Shay, “Christmas Isn’t Christmas”
Florida Georgia Line, “Lit This Year”
Lady A, “Wonderful Christmastime” and “Little Saint Nick”
Little Big Town, “Christmas Time Is Here”
Tim McGraw, “It Wasn’t His Child”
Thomas Rhett, “Christmas in the Country”
Darius Rucker with Lindsey Stirling, “What Child Is This?”