The 88th Annual Rockefeller Tree Lighting – Full Recap

Last night, the 88th annual Rockefeller Tree Lighting took place and aired on NBC. Artists of all genres including, Kelly Clarkson, Gwen Stefani, Tori Kelly, Jimmy Fallon, Leslie Odom Jr., Megan Trainor, Pentatonix, Goo Goo Dolls, Earth, Wind & Fire, the Radio City Rockettes and several entertainers from Broadway’s “Ain’t Too Proud” performed. Dolly Parton, Brett Eldredge and Dan + Shay represented country music. Keep reading below for a more in-depth review.

Brett Eldredge Rockerfeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting

Normally, this event would bring thousands of people from all over the world and pack the streets of New York City. However, this is no normal year. Instead, we got to watch the tree lighting from the comfort and safety of our own homes. NBC’s Craig Melvin, Hoda Kotb, Savannah Guthrie, and Al Roker hosted this magical night.

Kelly Clarkson kicked off the special with a performance of her original song, “Underneath the Tree” from Los Angeles. Right after, Dolly Parton sang a duet with Tonight Show Host, Jimmy Fallon for their rendition of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” This pre-recorded skit took place in Parton’s Nashville room, while she sang with Fallon via video chat. Throughout the song, Fallon was slowly putting on his Santa suit, and at the end, he jumped into his chimney on set and dropped down into the room Parton was singing in. Later in the show, Parton gave a powerful performance of “Mary, Did You Know?” Both these songs (including the Fallon feature) are on her latest album A Holly Dolly Christmas.

Brett Eldredge was the next performer. No country artist has quite embodied the holiday season like Eldredge has over the past few years. It seems he releases a new holiday track every year, and in 2016 he put out a full-length album titled Glow, which was followed by a deluxe version in 2018. The past two years, he has gone on holiday tours, stopping at Beacon Theater both years. Before his performance of “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas,” he delivered a Christmas wreath made from actual branches from the tree in Rockefeller Center to medical professionals at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Eldredge came on again later in the show, delivering an emotional performance of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” in front of the frontline health workers.

Dan + Shay took the stage in front of the Prometheus statue twice last night, performing both their new Christmas songs, the upbeat “Take Me Home For Christmas” and the slower “Christmas Isn’t Christmas.” As usual, Shay Mooney’s dominant lead vocals were on full display.

Due to her recent engagement to country superstar, Blake Shelton, we have to give a holla to Gwen Stefani (see what we did there?). She performed two original songs from her new holiday album, You Make It Feel Like Christmas, “Here This Christmas” and the title track. Although he did not sing with her last night, Shelton features on the title track.

The final performance of the night was a pre-recorded duet of Brett Eldredge and Kelly Clarkson singing their new, original holiday song “Under the Mistletoe.” Finally, after a short countdown from the hosts, the giant tree was lit, officially beginning the 2020 Christmas season.


Still need help getting in the spirit? Listen to our NYCS Christmas Playlist and check out our favorite, new holiday songs by our favorite country artists in our latest blog post.

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