But after seven years of hosting the holiday special, Nettles stepped down in 2017. She was replaced by Reba McEntire, who seemed like a fitting choice for the role considering her experience as a host of the ACM Awards for many years in the past.
The gig tied in perfectly with McEntire’s re-release of her 2016 Christmas album, which she updated to include new songs and collaborations.
It's my FAVORITE time of year! Join me for a night of holiday cheer & music with Luke Bryan, Little Big Town, CeCe Winans & many more on #CMAchristmas TOMORROW at 8|7c on ABC!
Posted by Reba McEntire on Sunday, November 26, 2017
In an interview with People following the host change announcement last year, McEntire said it was going to be hard to fill Nettles’ shoes. After all, she had been the host of the beloved special from the beginning.
But McEntire didn’t have anything to worry about. Fans loved her as the host of the show, and thoroughly enjoyed her musical numbers.
In addition to singing on her own, McEntire also performed with the special’s many musical guests. One performance that left a lasting impression on viewers was McEntire’s collaboration with Little Big Town on “Mary, Did You Know?”
After such a successful run as the host of CMA Country Christmas last year, fans couldn’t help but wonder if McEntire would be returning to the special for 2018. Wonder no more, because even though it’s only August, the CMA just announced plans for this year’s Christmas special.
Friday (August 24) the CMA unveiled the list of performers for the new special. You’ll see some familiar names on there, including Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, and Amy Grant. The lineup also features the notable addition of 92-year-old music legend Tony Bennett.
On top of all of that, the CMA announced who would be hosting the 2018 special, and McEntire’s fans can breathe a sigh of relief. She’ll be back to host the event for the second year in a row!
'Tis the season! 🎄 #CMAchristmas is BACK with host Reba McEntire & an incredible lineup singing your favorite holiday songs!
“I’ve always cherished celebrating Christmas alongside family and friends, taking time to reflect on the season,” McEntire said in a press release published by the CMA. “I’m so excited CMA invited me back to host their show and am looking forward to some fun singing carols with my friends.”
Hopefully the special follows last year’s format and McEntire will end up singing a few tunes with some of the performers. You can get excited for this year’s special by watching another one of her festive collaborations from 2017.
Which songs do you want McEntire to sing at CMA Country Christmas this year, and who would you like her to sing them with?