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Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles was in the full spirit of Christmas at the Country Music Association offices in Nashville on Tuesday (Oct. 16), as she helped announce the lineup for the upcoming ABC TV special CMA Country Christmas. The holiday concert will be filmed before a live audience at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Nov. 3 and will air sometime in December. Jennifer, who has hosted twice before, returns to emcee this year's show, which will feature performances of classic and new Christmas songs, comedy sketches and other stocking stuffers. Special guests include Dierks Bentley, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride, Little Big Town and others, from both country and pop.
Jennifer, who is expecting her first child at the end of November, enthusiastically bounded to the podium to talk about the show. "It's the closest thing to the classic variety show that hasn't been seen on television in a while," Jennifer said. "I wouldn't miss it for the world. I'm excited!"
The show is also partnering with the Generosity Foundation to help distribute presents to children who might not otherwise receive them. Fans who attend the Nov. 3 taping can participate by bringing along an unwrapped gift. Jennifer made the first official donation at the press conference, contributing a Sesame Street keyboard and a more rock 'n' roll keyboard ("for the older kids," she said, smiling).
Following the press conference, Jennifer told members of the Nashville media that the special appeals to her for a variety of reasons. "There is classic Christmas music, you have elements of comedy, collaborations," she said. "I just love that element of the entertainment value. It's entertainment that the family can enjoy." Jennifer added that her partner in Sugarland, Kristian Bush, may appear on the special but that the duo is not performing together on the show. "I know he loves Christmas, so he may choose to be there," Jennifer said. She added that she and Kristian are both "in the writing phase," and that she plans to take some time off after the baby is born. "I'm due November 29, and I think Thanksgiving is the week before," Jennifer noted. "So this may be a Thanksgiving baby."