Carrie Underwood's holiday special: I vote for more duets, fewer skits. You?

Happy holidays, PopWatchers, and don’t tell me it’s too early for dropping yule bombs, yo! You can already smell the imminent death of Halloween — and the chemical scent of fauxflakes — at my local Duane Reade, which means that Santa’s on his way. (He’s loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh.) (Sorry. Had to go there.)

Anyway, since you’re going to be waking up Saturday morning to find your next-door neighbor out on her front lawn setting up her Nativity scene, we might as well discuss Fox’s announcement this week that Carrie Underwood: An All-Star Holiday Special is coming to the network on Monday, Dec. 7, featuring living legend Dolly Parton, Brad Paisley, and (yes, yes, y’all!) David Cook. Generally, I’m pretty excited by this news: Much like garlic, the addition of Dolly Parton makes almost every dish a little tastier, and of course, anyone who’s seen the epic duet of “Go Your Own Way” embedded below knows the kind of magic Carrie and Cookie can generate when they pass the mic.

That said, there was one phrase in the Hollywood Reporter’s writeup of the special that, to me, was the written equivalent of a finding a hair in your salad: “Underwood will perform previous hits, holiday classics and songs from her upcoming album and participate in comedy bits.” Not for nothing, but for my holiday Hess truck, I’d prefer two full hours of music — especially if it involves awesome duets with A-list music acts — rather than a weird variety-concert hybrid where Carrie gets to test out her comic chops in a melange of Mrs. Claus-Harried Shopper-Toymaking Elf skits. Shouldn’t genuine musical chills always trump tepid chuckles and/or unnecessary snack breaks? So here’s a note to directors Nigel Lythgoe and Adam Shankman:

I know you have already hired Seinfeld‘s Carol Leifer, Frasier‘s Jeffrey Richman, and actor Seth Morris to pen some comedy bits, but I implore you to check out the Kelly Clarkson-Fantasia duet on “Jesus What a Wonderful Child” (embedded below, from 2004’s Kelly, Ruben, and Fantasia: Home for Christmas) for inspiration. Don’t challenge Carrie by trying to turn her into an actress — because, frankly, I think the world could do with fewer multihyphenates and more folks who stick to doing what they do best — and instead challenge her with exciting, unexpected duet partners. I’ll start the brainstorming sesh for dream collaborators right here: Aimee Mann (who’s known for her holiday tour extravaganza and is also awesome), Bo Bice (give your runner-up a little love, Ms. Underwood!), Wynonna, Willie Nelson (the essential onion to Dolly’s garlic), and Mariah Carey (you know you want to hear these ladies tackle “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” no?).

Your turn: If you were producing Carrie Underwood: An All-Star Holiday Special what would be the music-to-skits ratio? What other special guests would you sign up? And will you be watching come Dec. 7? Holla back in the comments section, and follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak for all my Idol updates.

Comments (134 total) Add your comment
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  • Caitlin

    I’ve always loved that clip of Kelly and Fantasia. Thanks Michael.

    • Kat

      I must admit, anything with David Cook in it will make my night…but I do love the music most of all. Although…he does do comedy quite well ;)

      • Kat2?

        Omg. Your names Kat and you love David too? Are you canadian? New bff? Lol :P

      • DD

        He does comedy so well! He needs his own sitcom (are you listening D.C.?? Have you seen his “hairdresser” skit? Hilarious!

    • Syd

      I want full on David Cook all alone. I love that guy I wish I would see more of him!

      • Scott

        Me to I cant get enough of that guy. Love me some David Cook!

  • flicketyflack

    I love, love, love the Aimee Mann and Wynonna suggestions by Michael!! Willie Nelson would be fun too. How about some Keith Urban, he’s always great.

    Jack Johnson might be fun too and I wouldn’t mind some Neyo smoothness either.

    I’m also for the cast of Glee joining the fun. They’ve already done one of Carrie’s songs and hey, at least NBC can’t cancel this gig for them since it’s already on FOX!

    • Karin

      Fox needs to promote all or most of their shows so how about the So You Think You Can Dance kids or Hugh Laurie from House singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Who wouldn’t want to see Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz smoke up the screen with Baby It’s Cold Outside or Eliza Dushku vamping through Santa Baby. Or John Noble from Fringe reciting Twas the Night Before Christmas. If they need “skits” then have Family Guy or Simpsons or Gordon Ramsay as Scrooge. Now that would be must see t.v.

    • stacie

      Looking forward to it.

  • tom

    I will be there front and center with a fresh recordable dvd in my dvd recorder to both watch it and record it for all posterity. I am a hugh Carrie fan and in my eyes she can do NO WRONG. No matter what she does. So bring on the comedy if it will get me more Carrie.

  • tawneej

    I would LOVE to see Kris Allen perform my fave Christmas song, “O Holy Night,” as he does here:

    • Sarah

      Aw, that was so good! I love Kris!

  • Mary

    I agree with you Michael….love all 3 of the guests, but would love to see Cookie on stage most of the night. ;-)

  • Julie E.

    Let’s have some more reality stars: have her sing with Kelly Clarkson and Miranda Lambert! All three together would be nice.

    • Julie E.

      They could perform one of Patty Griffin’s songs–Patty’s material would work well for all of them.

    • Joe R

      GREAT idea!!!

    • flicketyflack

      Bringing in Miranda and Kelly and all 3 ladies singing some Patty Griffin is an idea FULL of win – great job!

      And although this won’t happen right now, man would I ever love it if the Dixie Chicks played on Carrie’s special too.

      • acereader

        I agree! David is hilarious and I would love to see him doing some skits! Either way, if our baby boy is involved, I’m tuning in!

  • Connie

    While I would love to hear more duets, I would also love to have David Cook do some comedy skits. He is a natural and hasn’t gotten to showcase his talent in the acting/comedy arena quite yet. So like Tom said…”bring on the comedy(me editing Tom’s quote) if it will get me more DAVID”.

  • Kezbo

    Funny you bring up Kelly…I say she forgo Mariah and duet with her on that song. Who wouldn’t love that?

  • LeighHigh

    Love me some Cookwood. I was hoping for David getting to be on Carrie’s special. Love me some Dolly too. Yeah, and I agree that skits and Carrie really seem like an oxymoron. I was with you til you mentioned Mariah.

  • dj

    Instead of “Capes”, Kris Allen could do elf ears. KA doing “Away in a Manger” on his guitar would be beautiful”.

  • Pat

    I went to a Lynrd Skynrd concert and Bo Bice was opening for them. What an awesome guy and GREAT singer. I would love to see him on this special.

  • Made

    I’m usually in favour of more music and less doubtfully funny skits but in this case, I would love to see David Cook do some comedy. He’s a natural, as Connie said. BTW, loved both duets: Carrie + David and Kelly + Fantasia =)

  • maggie

    If the comedy includes David Cook, I’d like a heaping helping, please. I’m gonna have to say “No, thank you” to the Mariah idea. I’m most interested in David Cook and Carrie. Jack White might be a fun addition though.

  • Jen

    MUPPETS. Every holiday special needs Muppets.

  • Made

    Forgot to say how beautiful it was when David did “Happy Christmas” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” acoustic at the Rockefeller Center last year =)

    • reinharv

      Yes, David singing Happy Christmas & Have Yourself A Merry Little XMas was was beautiful & he was sick at that. I am so looking forward to David on that special. I hope that he too can do some comedy. He’s a natural.

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