Kacey Musgraves

The show features holiday-themed costumes, dance numbers and duets.

James Corden saunters onto the set of Kacey Musgraves' Christmas special. The two humorously meet to sing a duet of "Let it Snow." Snow bursts from the ceiling and windows as they sing, showering their hair and her house with snowflakes. Although they're hesitant to continue, they finish their song to kick off the evening.

The country superstar celebrates the holiday season by bringing timeless classics and originals from her Christmas album, “A Very Kacey Christmas,” to life in the form of a TV special with the help of special guests and her band, all in front of a live studio audience. 

Narrated by Dan Levy, the show beautifully displays holiday cheer through live duets, dance numbers and outrageous costumes and set decorations. However, the acting and storyline fall short.

After the opening monologue, Levy explains an unoriginal storyline to the audience; Musgraves is behind in her preparations for Christmas day. Most importantly, she can’t find her Nana’s star ornament for the top of her tree. 

The show takes place on Christmas Eve in a set of seven rooms that are supposed to act as Musgraves’ home. To enhance the variety show appeal, the audience is given sneak peeks of behind-the-scenes moments of producers ensuring the show is going as planned and glimpses into the living rooms of families watching Musgraves’ show on TV, which is all set in the ’70s.

After the duet with James Corden, it transitions into a duet of “Present Without a Bow” with performer Leon Bridges. Musgraves touches on her famous trippy personality by walking on the floor and ceiling with Bridges during their performance. This is quite the spin on a Christmas performance, but it’s true to Musgraves’ unique, psychedelic roots.

Camilla Cabello is the next special guest to accompany Musgraves on stage. The singers match in striking red holiday costumes, a pantsuit and dress full of glitter and ruffles as they perform the classic song, “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.” Dancers join the singers on stage with glamorous matching outfits and props for a charming number.

The next guest, Fred Armisen, meets Musgraves in her reading room to sing a duet of “Silent Night.” Except, they keep being interrupted by a construction worker who’s making tons of noise with his tools. This is supposed to be another humorous skit, but it quickly turns sour as Musgraves acting comes off as awkward and forced.

Musgraves takes a break from the duets but continues with slow songs like a solo acoustic performance of her original song, “Christmas Makes Me Cry.” This redirects the show to focus back on Musgraves instead of her special guests. 

The audience cheers for the next special guest, Kendall Jenner, but she disappoints with a confusing skit. Musgraves greets Jenner at her door, but the two don’t speak. Instead, they exchange a conversation with written messages on large notecards. The two joke about trading places for “Kris-mas,” but Musgraves declines Jenner’s request, and that’s the end of the short, confusing skit. It comes off as somewhat pointless and seems like it was added in for the sole purpose of having Jenner and a featured Kardashian joke on the show. 

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Next, she transitions into a performance of “Mele Kalikimaka” with Zooey Deschanel where the corny acting continues (common for Deschanel) as the two hand out gifts that magically appear from inside a Mary Poppins-like bag to Musgraves’s band.

Musgraves’ seems less uncomfortable in the next two performances. She and Troye Sivan sing her brand new song, “Glittery,” and she and Lana Del Rey sing the classic, “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” 

However, her horrendous acting returns when her Nana shows up at the door with the missing star tree topper. Her forced portrayal of being surprised by her nana is not believable and makes this scene uncomfortable to watch instead of sentimental.

Musgraves closes the show with an upbeat number, “Ribbons And Bows.” The finale includes over-the-top costumes, a kick line from the Rockettes, a shower of confetti falling on top of Musgraves and her fellow cast members, and some uncoordinated and awkward dance moves from the country singer herself. 

Although the skits in this show are at some points painful to watch, the music, dance numbers, decorations, costumes and talented special guests are fabulous as they put a wonderful, modern spin on classic Christmas tunes. The bold colors and glitter enhance the magical set and flawless voices featured on the show. 

Contact Diana DeVincent at devincdm@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.