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From the Couch: “CMA Country Christmas”

Originally published in the December 3, 2010 issue

A first annual anything should be worth watching, if for no other reason than to play the prediction game of how many annuals will appear thereafter.

In an industry like country music, there are a lot of opportunities to showcase the camaraderie of the artists, the creativity of the lyrics and the unique melodies of the genre.

This year, ABC decided to sponsor yet another country music event, this time with a Christmas theme. With an elaborately decorated stage and Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles as host, the event offered a different perspective on holiday traditions.

Nettles kicked off the event with her band’s rendition of “Winter Wonderland.” Leann Rimes also made an appearance, with several sailors in tow, to perform an oddly sexed-up version of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

It wouldn’t be a country music show without the classic sound of Rascal Flatts, and their performance of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” sung during a montage of soldier photos and video brought about the inescapable country music event tearjerker.

Brad Paisley performed one of my favorites, “What Child Is This,” and Reba McIntyre stopped by to perform “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” with several Santas to help her out (not as lucky as Leann with the soldiers, but then again who knows what was under those suits).

Sheryl Crow even made an appearance with Paisley to sing a normally annoying “Run Run Rudolph,” but the duet made it fun and enjoyable.

Darius Rucker sang a newer song, “Candy Cane Christmas,” which was well done once I got past the need to scream “Hootie!”

Martina McBride stole the show in a way only she can with her stunning vocals as she sang “O Holy Night,” providing me with new motivation for when I stand in front of the mirror with my hairbrush in hand.

Throughout the show, there were numerous opportunities to get to know the artists with several asides featuring them and their families. There was even video of 12-year-old Paisley singing his first song on his first guitar.

Normally this kind of public family time is not my favorite thing, but this was acceptable as it wasn’t done in a gag-me-now, overly dramatic way.

Overall the show seemed to be a success, featuring the top artists in the business sharing real holiday moments for all of us to enjoy.

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