After waiting for four hours in the cold, here we go! The Christmas Tree is lit at Rockefeller Center, shimmering with its 45,000 multi-colored LED lights and its Swarovki star on the top.
While waiting for this 80 feet tall Norway spruce to kick off the holiday season with its lights, some fantastic melodic, opera and country voices warmed us up.
The queen of the night was undoubtedly Mariah Carey, a veteran of the lighting ceremony, (in 2010 she performed while being pregnant with twins ) who performed twice. She first appeared in a low-cut, red and silver dress to sing her perennial hit “All I Want for Christmas is You ” and danced on stage together with an energetic group of kids and Santa. Then she came back for the last song before the lighting. Wearing a long white gown embellished with rhinestones and a fake white fur Mariah sang “Christmas Time is in the Air Again”.
Cee Le Green preformed twice as well. First to sing “This Christmas” and then he came back along with the Muppets to perform “All I Need in Love”, a single from his new Christmas album. Rod Steward, who is also promoting his new holiday album, sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. Among the other performers there were the Italian young tenors of the trio Il Volo, the Rockettes with a little dance show, Tony Bennett, American Idol’s Brooke White and Chris Mann.
One of the privileges of attending the event inside the small “cage” made of police barricades reserved for the foreign press was that some of the protagonists of the night had to pass by us on their way out once they had finished their performance or speech. That’s how I met the gardener who was in charge of the operations to set the gigantic tree in place and who has his 15 minutes of celebrity. Then it was the turn of the family who donated the tree (and this part of the story is actually more interesting than the way it sounds, as the tree survived various hurricanes among which the notorious Sandy and was chosen almost “by mistake” since the Rockefeller Center team ended up in front of it because they took a wrong turn on their way back to New York City).
The first singer to perch on the police barricades to talk to us was Brooke White, super excited
because it was the her first time visiting to New York City. The last performers I had a little chat with was the Italian singers of “Il Volo”. Since they became big when I had already moved to the US I must admit that I didn’t know who they were and I had to google their name on my smartphone while they were on stage. These teenagers have superb voices! They confessed all their excitement for having just sang in front of a television audience of 25 million people: “We didn’t know this was such a huge event in America!”.