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.