In anticipation of the holiday season, FOX gifted to me a sneak peek of tonight's Carrie Underwood: An All-Star Holiday Special. While I didn't get the full two-hour experience, I was afforded the opportunity to see several of the musical
numbers, and exactly one comedy sketch. The good news is that Underwood, and her bevy of guests sounded wonderful, and the one sketch was even pretty funny.
In the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit that I'm a bit predisposed to like variety shows. Though I'm not old enough to have seen them when they were at their heights on television, I always enjoyed the occasional variety specials we've seen over the years (except for Rosie O'Donnell's a few years back). As television has been toying around with more of these the past few years, perhaps sensing a potential revival, or perhaps hoping for one as they're cheaper to produce, I've been holding out hope that they'll get it right.
It all comes down to your centerpiece. They need to have poise, humor, timing and a great voice. They need charisma like you've almost never seen, so your eyes are drawn to them the moment they walk on stage. Carrie Underwood is, of course, gorgeous and has a stunning voice. As it turns out, she's got all those other qualities to boot. I'm sure she's not looking to abandon her singing career for a run at a variety series, but I'd love to see her at the center of the occasional holiday special like this.
Even though all I got was disjointed clips from throughout the show, I could already tell that it's going to be one of those experiences where you find yourself sitting there witha smile on your face. According to Underwood, she will be spotlighting many of her new songs, but that doesn't mean she'll abandon her "classics." And, of course, there'll be a few holiday standards in there as well.
The bits I saw showcased fellow American Idol champ David Cook, country legend Dolly Parton, Kristen Chenoweth, Christina Applegate and Sons of Sylvia, with the promise of Brad Paisley and possible other surprises. The sketch I saw offered one of those surprises, though you have to listen carefully to identify the 'Horrible' voicework. Granted, this person may appear more directly elsewhere in the special, but I can only go on what I know.
The bottom line is that the preview FOX sent me did just what it was supposed to. It made me want to watch Carrie Underwood: An All-Star Holiday Special tonight in its entirety. If I've done what I was supposed to, I've at least enticed you to give it a try as well. What else are you watching? It's not like Monday nights at 8 PM ET are filled with amazing programming (at least House isn't on ... you know ... because this is on).