Reba McEntire played the dual roles of host and performer at the 2018 CMA Country Christmas special, an all-star event that airs on ABC Monday night. In a bonus video from the show’s taping, McEntire sings a version of “Hard Candy Christmas” that adds a touch of melancholy to the otherwise festive occasion.
The show was originally taped back in September and features performances by Dan + Shay, Brett Eldredge, Diana Krall, Tony Bennett, Brad Paisley, Martina McBride and many others. Accompanied solely by pianst Catherine Marx, McEntire sings the song — penned by Carol Hall for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas musical and later recorded by Parton — with a mixture of sadness and resilience that fits the uncertain future envisioned in the lyrics. Parton released her own version of “Hard Candy Christmas” on the 2016 album My Kind of Christmas, which was released in partnership with Cracker Barrel.
McEntire was also one of the performers being celebrated at the Kennedy Center Honors on December 2nd. Fellow honorees included Cher, Wayne Shorter, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Philip Glass.
CMA Country Christmas airs on ABC Monday, December 10th at 8 p.m. ET.