ABC/Mark LevineWhen you tune in tonight to see Reba McEntire‘s second time hosting the annual CMA Country Christmas special on ABC, the Country Music Hall of Famer warns you’d better be ready for an enormous dose of yuletide cheer — from the way the halls have been decked to the way the carols are sung.
“You’re gonna see the most beautiful stage,” she explains. “Balsam Hill has done a great job with all the decorations, and when everything is lit up, and the scenes are [shown] in the back, it’s incredible looking.”
“So that’s gonna get everybody in the Christmas spirit,” adds the Oklahoma native. “And it’s working for me for sure!”
You’ll even hear a holiday tune she’s never recorded, and see a rarity in a Reba performance: choreography.
“I’m doing ‘Man with the Bag’ because [executive producer] Robert Deaton told me to,” she laughs. “And it’s a wonderful surprise tonight, because the cutest bunch of kids are dancing around me.”
“When they said, ‘We’re gonna have dancers,’” Reba recalls, “I said, ‘Ew, do I have to dance?’ And they said, ‘No, but they’re gonna dance all around you.’ And I said, ‘Perfect!’”
“And then I got here for rehearsal and they’re the cutest kids. So talented. You’re gonna love ’em!”
In addition to Reba and her dancers, the 2018 edition of the special also features Dan + Shay, Brett Eldredge, Dustin Lynch, Martina McBride, Old Dominion, Brad Paisley and Brett Young, as well as the legendary Tony Bennett, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, The Isaacs, Diana Krall and Lindsey Stirling.
The two-hour CMA Country Christmas premieres tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.