PLOT: Mariah Carey sings Christmas songs in an homage to classic Christmas Specials.
Usually in a Christmas special focused on performances, the namesake of the special takes a back seat at times to the guests he/she has on the special. But that wouldn’t be Mariah Carey’s style, and it is more than obvious that she wanted this to be all about her. Even the segments that weren’t performance-based either featured her or people talking about her. It was kinda funny.
With that all said, Mariah Carey’s Merriest Christmas is entertaining to watch, which is mostly because of Carey performing Christmas standards. Her voice allows her to sing the religious songs with the conviction and reverence they require, even if she does include some unnecessary runs. Her one duet is with Babyface, and it’s fine but nothing earth shattering. I wish there were a few more of these so that the variety show had some more, uh, variety.
There are some non-performance segments in the special, but they are either rushed for comedic purposes (Kelsey Grammer reading silent night) or really added nothing to the show (Billy Gardell running late). It was clear that this special is a mini advertisement for the Christmas movie directed by Carey, A Christmas Melody, which from the one clip they showed looks awful even for Hallmark Channel standards. I felt bad for Lacey Chabert because she when asked about her favorite Christmas song, and was hesitant to say ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ because even if it was true, it looks like pandering to the host of the special.
Mariah Carey’s Merriest Christmas has only one love story: Carey and herself. Even the Siri surrogate that Gardell is using loves her.
From the choice of songs to the set decorations, this special is everything you would want from a Christmas special. The songs are a good mix of religious and modern, and of course she ends with the best Holiday banger of all time, ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You.’ (HOT TAKE: The version in Love Actually is better than Mariah’s performance here.)
Christmas-ness Score: 5 out of 5
For the most part the special is exactly what it looks like: Mariah Carey’s Christmas. As much as I’ve criticized it, I wish it was longer and included more duets and songs because if you go beyond her ego, Carey is one of the best Christmas carol performers still alive today. I’d be more bullish on this if it was just an album.