How Alan Jackson helped Chris Young up his "CMA Country Christmas" cred

ABC/Mark LevineChris Young’s holiday album, It Must be Christmas, features a stellar array of guest stars, namely Alan JacksonBrad Paisley and Boyz II Men.

On 2016’s CMA Country Christmas special, Brad teamed up with Chris to sing their version of “The First Noel,” so when Chris was invited back again this year, he knew the stakes were high.  

“Last year was my first time getting to perform as a part of this show,” he explains. “It was the first time I'd had a Christmas record out, and I got to get out there with Brad Paisley and then do a song of my own, and it was very, very cool. I was like, 'I don't know how I'm going to be able to top that, other than, you know, if Alan wanted to be here next year.' And it actually happened.”

On this year’s show, Alan and Chris perform “There’s a New Kid in Town,” a song he originally recorded with the late Keith Whitley on his 1993 album, Honky Tonk Christmas.

“This song… is really important because it ended up on my record,” Chris says. “I wanted this song on that album because my favorite Christmas record growing up was the Alan Jackson Christmas record. And he did this song. So on the album, I actually sang where he sang and I had him sing where Keith Whitley sang on his version…”

“I love that I got asked to perform on this, but I love it even more than I'm getting to do it with Alan Jackson. Hall of Famer, Alan Jackson,” he points out. “I'm legally required to say that now I think.”

You can check out Chris and Alan’s duet on Thursday, when the 2017 CMA Country Christmas special re-airs at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

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