As fans tune in for Hallmark‘s lineup of 2023 Countdown to Christmas movies, they may notice some familiar voices. Hallmark has a long history of teaming up with some of music’s biggest stars for its iconic Christmas movies, and this year is no different.
Pop Icons Ringing in the Holidays With Hallmark
To kick off its 2023 Countdown to Christmas lineup, Hallmark hosted a party for partners and influencers in New York City on October 18. Nine-time GRAMMY winner Norah Jones performed some of her hit songs at the swanky event, including her 2021 tune “Christmas Calling (Jolly Jones).” That song will be featured during Hallmark’s original movie “Navigating Christmas,” which premieres on November 17 and co-stars Stephen Huszar and Chelsea Hobbs.
Meanwhile, Swifties took notice in October when Hallmark featured Taylor Swift’s 2019 holiday single, “Christmas Tree Farm,” in early promos for Hallmark’s 2023 Countdown to Christmas roster. Though Hallmark promoted the collaboration with Swift-inspire posts via social media, those have since been deleted. However, a fan captured and posted one of the full promos on Reddit.
Another hard-to-miss pop icon gracing Hallmark’s Christmas programming is Cher. Her partnership with Hallmark has resulted in songs from her first-ever holiday album, “Christmas,” featured in five of its new holiday movies. In “The Santa Summit” starring Hunter King and Benjamin Hollingsworth, which premiered on November 5, it’s hard to miss Cher’s new tune “DJ Play A Christmas Song” during the dance party scene.
In Lacey Chabert and Scott Wolf’s “A Merry Scottish Christmas,” premiering on November 18, listen for a duet called “Home” by Cher and Michael Bublé. And when “Holiday Road” premieres on November 24 with an ensemble cast including Sara Canning and Warren Christie, it will also include Cher’s rendition of “Run Rudolph Run.”
On December 9, Cher and Darlene Love‘s duet on the classic holiday tune “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)” can be heard during the premiere of “Christmas on Cherry Lane,” which features a star-studded cast including Jonathan Bennett, Catherine Bell, and Erin Cahill. And, finally, in the December 17 premiere of “Friends and Family Christmas” starring Ali Liebert and Humberly González, listen for Cher’s new song, “Angels in the Snow.”
Another pop star lending her voice to Hallmark’s Christmas roster is Ingrid Michaelson, whose song “This Christmas” is featured in “A Heidelberg Holiday,” which premiered on November 12.
“I was asked to write a song that runs under the final scene in an upcoming Christmas Hallmark movie,” Michaelson recently told Broadway World. “I love all things Christmas, so I jumped at the chance. I watched the movie and wrote this song in a few inspired minutes after the movie ended; I wanted to encapsulate the feeling of being present and grateful in the moment, while also celebrating the most wonderful time of the year!”
Multiple ‘American Idol’ Alums Featured in New Hallmark Christmas Movies
Leer, who was a finalist on season 18 of “Idol” in 2020, is a rising country star in Nashville. She landed her first movie role in “Time for Her to Come Home for Christmas,” premiering on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries on November 30 and co-starring Shenae Grimes-Beech and Chris Carmack.
On November 13, Leer shared an Instagram clip from the movie, which is executive produced by country superstar Blake Shelton, and said that being part of it was “such a dream.” Three days before, she also shared a montage of videos she made while she was filming the movie for three weeks in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Leer won’t be the first “American Idol” alum to star in a Hallmark movie, though. Country star Lauren Alaina, runner-up in 2011, co-starred with Tyler Hynes in 2021’s “Roadhouse Romance.” Kellie Pickler, an finalist on the fifth season of “Idol,” co-starred with Wes Brown in two “Christmas at Graceland” movies in 2018 and 2019 as well as the holiday movie “The Mistletoe Secret.” And Jordin Sparks, winner of the sixth season, starred in 2021’s “A Christmas Treasure.”
Meanwhile, season 20 runner-up HunterGirl, another up-and-coming country star whose single “Ain’t About You” is currently climbing the charts, has two new holiday songs featured in this year’s Hallmark Christmas movies.
HunterGirl’s upbeat tune “Hurry Up Christmas” is featured in Andrew Walker‘s latest movie, “Christmas Island.” And her song “Christmas Again,” can be heard during “Haul Out the Holly: All Lit Up,” which premieres on November 25 starring Lacey Chabert and Wes Brown.
“When I found out that two songs I wrote were going to be featured in the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas movies, I was so excited for my whole family, especially my Nana,” she said in a statement from her record label, BBR Music. “I’ve been watching Hallmark Christmas movies with my family since I was a little girl, so hearing my song, ‘Hurry Up Christmas,’ in Christmas Island over the weekend was a moment I will never forget.”
In addition to Leer and HunterGirl, singer and actress McPhee, who was runner-up on the fifth season of “Idol,” can also be heard during this season’s Hallmark movies. Her version of “Jingle Bell Rock,” performed with her husband, iconic music producer David Foster, can be heard during “Catch Me If You Claus,” which premieres on November 23.