Let’s be real: the Lady Gaga & the Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular is a cross-promotional commercial. Gaga gets to perform songs from her new album ARTPOP, and the Muppets remind us why we love them long enough to get excited for this spring’s big-screen Muppets Most Wanted. That doesn’t mean the special is boring — on the contrary, it’s delightful! Yet it’s still a commercial, making me feel the way I feel after watching a charming Black Friday ad: equal parts warm, fuzzy, cynical, and depressed by consumerism overtaking the so-called “holiday spirit.” But why fret? It’s Lady Gaga and the Muppets!
The “spectacular” kicks off with an introduction from Pepe the King Prawn, who thinks he’s starting his own special. Silly King Prawn, this isn’t your special — or even The Muppets Show that I desperately want back on TV — it’s a Gaga/Disney 90-minute promotional feature! In the real introduction, Gaga shares that the first time she fell in love was during the holidays. That’s sweet until she reveals that her first love was Kermit, which, sorry, is just weird. Sprinkled throughout the showcase are various sketches featuring the Muppets and special guests such as Kristen Bell and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. But the spectacle of this spectacular comes from the musical performances. Here’s a run-down on the night’s extravagant productions: