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Inside Mariah Carey’s Christmas Concert Special: A Duet with Her Daughter, Celebrity Cameos and More

CBS presents MARIAH CAREY: MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!, a new two-hour primetime concert special from the Queen of Christmas Mariah Carey, broadcasting Tuesday, Dec. 20 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. Pictured (L-R): Mariah and Monroe Carey. Photo: James Devaney/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

CBS presents MARIAH CAREY: MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!, a new two-hour primetime concert special from the Queen of Christmas Mariah Carey, broadcasting Tuesday, Dec. 20 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. Pictured (L-R): Mariah and Monroe Carey. Photo: James Devaney/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Mariah Carey and daughter Monroe.
Photo: James Devaney/CBS

There are few seasonal traditions more guaranteed than Mariah Carey‘s infectious Christmas spirit.

The music icon proved that once again in New York City on Dec. 13, hitting the Madison Square Garden stage to perform her latest Christmas-themed concert for thousands of fans. But don’t worry if you couldn’t score tickets, because cameras recorded the spectacle for a new special, Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas To All!, airing on CBS and streaming on Paramount+ Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET.

The timing of her MSG show couldn’t have been better: Just one day earlier, news broke that her universally beloved classic, “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” had returned to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for the fourth straight year in a row, and made some history in the process.

It should come as no surprise that Carey owned the moment by belting the hit for the audience, in addition to several other holiday standards, with support from familiar faces in the Mariah-verse —including her twins Monroe and Moroccan, 11.

Read on for more highlights from the concert.

A “Queen of Christmas”-Worthy Start

Carey has long been called the “Queen of Christmas,” and she helped solidify that title with a memorable opener, descending from the top of MSG on a floating snowflake throne during a rendition of “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from The Nutcracker.

Wearing a gold crown and a sparkling dress, she transitioned into “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” with a gospel choir providing powerful backup vocals.

“A lot of us really need hope around the holidays,” Carey said. Her uplifting performance no doubt helped, as the audience couldn’t stop cheering when she hit the high notes in “Joy to the World.”

CBS presents MARIAH CAREY: MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!, a new two-hour primetime concert special from the Queen of Christmas Mariah Carey, broadcasting Tuesday, Dec. 20 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. Pictured (L-R): Santa Claus and Mariah Carey. Photo: James Devaney/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

CBS presents MARIAH CAREY: MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!, a new two-hour primetime concert special from the Queen of Christmas Mariah Carey, broadcasting Tuesday, Dec. 20 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. Pictured (L-R): Santa Claus and Mariah Carey. Photo: James Devaney/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Mariah Carey with Santa Claus.
James Devaney/CBS

Comedy Relief

Carey drew laughter while jokingly beckoning her backstage helpers (or should we call them elves?) to the stage.

In between numbers, the guys — to whom Carey publicly expressed her appreciation — would come out with bedazzled cups filled with water or tea to help her hydrate and soothe her voice.

The audience was especially amused when she called for her glam squad, including fan-favorite makeup artist Kristofer Buckle, for quick touchups under the spotlight.

The Audience and Carey Feel the Love

When Carey sang “Silent Night,” thousands of fans took out their phones and lit up their flashlights, waving them around like how folks used to hold up lighters at concerts. This created an aura of unity that moved Carey.

“Thank you everybody,” she said to cheers near the end of the song, appearing grateful for the connection with her “Lambily,” as she calls her group of fans. “I love you more.”

CBS presents MARIAH CAREY: MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!, a new two-hour primetime concert special from the Queen of Christmas Mariah Carey, broadcasting Tuesday, Dec. 20 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. Pictured (L-R): Mariah Carey. Photo: James Devaney/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

CBS presents MARIAH CAREY: MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!, a new two-hour primetime concert special from the Queen of Christmas Mariah Carey, broadcasting Tuesday, Dec. 20 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. Pictured (L-R): Mariah Carey. Photo: James Devaney/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Mariah Carey.
James Devaney/CBS

Cameos Galore

Carey’s Christmas specials are known for special celebrity appearances — remember how Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson performed in her 2020 Apple TV+ special? — and she delivered yet again for the CBS concert.

This year, Drew Barrymore, longtime collaborator Jermaine Dupri, Billy Porter, Slick Rick and the Radio City Rockettes were among those who supported Carey.

“No one flies like a bird like you, Ms. Mariah Carey,” Porter said while surprising her with a plaque displaying the massive sales of “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”

But the sweetest cameo came when daughter Monroe sat down next to her mom for a lovely duet of “Away in a Manger.”

CBS presents MARIAH CAREY: MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!, a new two-hour primetime concert special from the Queen of Christmas Mariah Carey, broadcasting Tuesday, Dec. 20 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. Pictured (L-R): Mariah Carey and Billy Porter. Photo: James Devaney/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

CBS presents MARIAH CAREY: MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!, a new two-hour primetime concert special from the Queen of Christmas Mariah Carey, broadcasting Tuesday, Dec. 20 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. Pictured (L-R): Mariah Carey and Billy Porter. Photo: James Devaney/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Mariah Carey with Billy Porter.
James Devaney/CBS

Hits, Hits and Hits

Just because it’s a Christmas concert doesn’t mean Carey won’t sing some of her No. 1 smashes. Indeed, during the middle of the festive show, she performed a variety of favorites, including “Fantasy,” “Honey,” “Heartbreaker,” “Emotions,” “Make It Happen” and “Hero.”

Barrymore best summed up the moment as Carey took a quick break backstage: “When Mariah Carey tells you that ‘a hero lies in you,’ well, you believe her.”

Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas To All! airs on CBS and streams on Paramount+ Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET.