The 86th annual “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” holiday special aired last night (Nov. 28) on NBC. The towering 72-foot spruce was lit with over 50,000 lights to ring in the holiday season as millions of people watched from their living rooms all over the country.
In keeping with tradition, a large lineup of music superstars performed holiday classics and original songs to get the crowd in the holiday spirit. The star-studded roster of artists included John Legend, Ella Mai, Pentatonix, Tony Bennett, Diana Krall, Darci Lynne Farmer and many more. We’ve compiled a list of our picks for the Top 7 musical performances from “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” 2018 below.
7. Kellie Pickler “Santa Baby”
Country star, actress, and “American Idol” alum Kellie Pickler always brings a bubbly, upbeat sparkle to her live performances. She sang a sassy, sultry, smile-inducing rendition of “Santa Baby” that definitely helped make the evening more merry and bright.
6. John Legend “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
John Legend has been busy promoting his first Christmas album, A Legendary Christmas, for which he also launched his first-ever TV Christmas special with his wife, Chrissy Teigen. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is one of the most treasured Christmas songs of all time. Legend did an extraordinary job with it, while playing piano and wearing festive plaid pants. Grab tickets from AXS for select dates on John Legend's Christmas tour.
5. Rob Thomas “A New York Christmas”
The world will never forget all New York City lost in the wake of 9/11. Rob Thomas wrote the song after the terrifying incident as a means of paying homage to the city, its famed Christmas tree, all the lives that were lost and as an anthem of hope for the future. He did a stellar job performing it this year – and it was arguably the most stirring, poignant song of the night.
4. Darci Lynne and Petunia “Jingle Bell Rock”
“America’s Got Talent” season 12 champion Darci Lynne Farmer is also getting her first Christmas special this year, which airs Dec. 11 on NBC. It’s still incredible to watch her “sing” through her adorable puppets. She brought her bunny Petunia, who was decked out in a cheery plaid dress. The pair sang a super-sweet duet of “Jingle Bell Rock” to liven up the crowd. Grab tickets from AXS to select Darci Lynne and Friends Christmas shows.
3. Pentatonix “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”
The world-class a cappella group does such a spectacular job with Christmas songs. They are celebrating the release of their third Christmas album and seventh studio album overall with Christmas is Here! The album dropped in October and the group chose to sing their cover of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” at the tree lighting ceremony. Even Scrooge or the Grinch would have to muster some Christmas cheer after their fun, energetic performance. Grab tickets from AXS to select Pentatonix Christmas shows.
2. Ella Mai “Silent Night”
Ella Mai is a rising British R & B star who released her eponymous debut album to critical acclaim on Oct. 12. She looked lovely at the world-renowned holiday event, wearing a festive red-and-black coat and bright red lipstick. Her subtle, smoky version of the Christmas classic hymn underscored the faith behind the Christmas season. It was arguably one of the most beautiful moments in the broadcast. Grab tickets from AXS to select shows on Ella Mai's debut tour.
1. Diana Ross “Christmas Medley”
R&B superstar Diana Ross closed out the night with a truly magical medley of Christmas songs which included ruminating songs like “Someday at Christmas” and her own song “Home,” as well as upbeat songs like “Sleigh Ride” and “Wonderful Christmastime.” The living legend earns our pick for the No. 1 performance of the night.