Arts, Television, Review

Musgraves’ Christmas Special is a Merry Interruption

Kacey Musgraves manages to pack in a whole lot of holiday cheer in just 45 minutes. The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show allows Musgraves to be her usual weird, unapologetically funky self while multiplying the eccentricity to fit Christmas-level proportions. Through cheesy yet lovable skits and quick, funny side stories, the Christmas special follows Musgraves as she searches for her Nana’s Christmas star, which is nowhere to be found. Along the way, she performs various bright, over-the-top duets, spreading holiday cheer in the most glittery, stylish way possible. 

In a welcome yet unexpected twist, actor Dan Levy serves as the narrator of the show, telling silly seasonal jokes as Musgraves moves from one song to the next. Of course, he’s dressed as an elf—one who’s cynical and negative at first, but full of joy and gratitude by the end of the episode. 

The show starts off with Musgraves and James Corden gathered around a beautiful Christmas tree, singing “Let It Snow.” The two have surprisingly compatible vocals, leading the viewer into a peaceful lull. Suddenly, the windows burst open, and snow whirls throughout the room, blowing in every which way. 

This same interruption repeats itself multiple times throughout the song, during which it’s revealed that this Christmas special has a laugh track. Unfortunately, it’s not clear whether the track is there to complete the old-fashioned, kitschy atmosphere of the show, or if it’s low quality. Even if it was intentional, it still feels out of place. The presence of a laugh track in anything makes every joke feel forced—and certainly doesn’t help the low-level humor sprinkled throughout Musgraves’ show. The same interruption-style joke is replicated during “Silent Night,” during which a handyman keeps making noise as Musgraves sings. It might have been funny once, but ultimately, it detracts from what the viewers are really here to experience—the music. 

In this first song, Musgraves stuns in an incredible suede jumpsuit complete with a sparkly bow. She sports a new look in each of the 11 songs—and each one seems to top the next, especially in terms of extravagance. During “Present Without a Bow” featuring Leon Bridges, her glistening silver dress matches the turquoise walls of the picturesque room in which the video is filmed. Their voices are silky smooth and swirl about the room as the two dance together. Unexpected yet fun visual effects come into play during the performance, as Musgraves and Bridges begin dancing up the sides of the walls, eventually walking up to the ceiling and singing upside down. It’s definitely weird—but it’s also charming and delightful. 

Musgraves is joined by Troye Sivan as she performs her original song “Glittery.” The two match in sparkly pink and green outfits, and their voices sound as though they were made to fit together. A disco ball illuminates the room as the duo sings the joyful tune. The song definitely doesn’t contain Musgraves’ best lyrical work, but it works well alongside Sivan in the cheerful holiday context. Her music off Golden Hour just wouldn’t fit the extravagant Christmas environment. 

One of the comedic high points comes toward the end of the special, as Kendall Jenner knocks on Musgraves’ door. Emulating Love Actually’s famous cue cards scene, Jenner pleads with Musgraves to swap places with her this holiday season. “We both have brown hair,” one card reads. “No one will notice.” 

At the end of the show, Musgraves’ real-life Nana knocks on the door, bringing with her the Christmas star that’s been missing the whole time. It is endearing but also odd to see an actual family member on screen, awkwardly smiling and unsure of what to do, but she does a great job of grounding the flamboyant theatrics of the special by adding a sweet personal touch. Once they embrace and place the star on top of the tree, Musgraves is joined by the Rockettes in a joyful rendition of her original song “Ribbons and Bows.” It ties the special together in a vibrant manner, capping off a weird, whimsical hour of holiday fun. 

Featured Image by Amazon Prime

December 5, 2019

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