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Mariah Carey shows why she’s the Queen of Christmas


For Mariah Carey, it’s a family affair. The Christmas Queen continues with her “Merry Christmas to One and All!” returned to town Sunday night at the United Center as part of the event. type. Unlike other artists who might occasionally release a holiday single or a sophomore Christmas album, Carey leaned into the season and produced two classic albums (“Merry Christmas” and “Merry Christmas II You”) and a series of trailers. tunes and musical residencies to celebrate the holiday.

But this latest tour is the ultimate example of the love of Christmas that connects the spirit of the season to his lineage and family legacy. Before performing her rendition of “Sleigh Ride,” Carey shared that going on a two-horse open sleigh ride with her children is a Christmas tradition for her. Carey’s two children (twins Moroccan and Monroe) made brief but memorable appearances throughout the show, either dancing on stage, singing a solo (the infectious ’80s hit “Noel Wrap”), or rapping.

Carey even turned the song “Jesus Born on This Day” from her first Christmas album into a duet with Monroe. During the song, the two held hands and looked at each other. Carey even included a video slideshow of herself celebrating the season with her kids over the years. It’s clear that this time of year is not just about material and cultural success, but also about how complementary the strength and love within his family is.

This made for an overall family-friendly evening, as if you were watching a dazzling televised Christmas special as a member of a live studio audience. Despite the large turnout of millennial and Gen X fans, there were plenty of kids in the United Center, and Carey’s set often appealed to their sensibilities.

The show began with two child ballet dancers emerging from large gift boxes and performing a short performance of “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from “The Nutcracker.” Then Carey, wearing a bright red mini dress, rose from the bottom of the stage to sing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”, her backing band covered entirely in white. Adult and child dancers performed the next song of the night, “Oh Santa!” And the participation of all age groups continued intermittently throughout the night.

What could have appeared as a gimmick worked quite well. For Carey, Christmas isn’t just a time to commemorate the return of her wildly popular Christmas classic “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” It is a holiday and a season of togetherness, the wonder of childhood, abundance, joy and pleasure.

Put aside the rumors of years past, Carey’s voice is still strong and powerful. He played his signature whistled notes throughout the night, whether it was at the end of “Oh Santa!” or during her mega-hit “We Belong Together.”

I was especially impressed with Carey’s voice when she played a medley of non-Christmas songs like “Emotions” and “Fantasy.” Wearing a sequined, all-gold dress and cape, Carey ran through some of her biggest hits, including “Always Be My Baby” and “It’s a Wrap” (which recently became a social media sensation after being rediscovered by Gen Z). ).

During the evening’s quieter but still delightful and even joyful moments, Carey shined. Carey invited the Glam Squad onstage twice to touch up her hair and makeup between songs. All three background singers accompanied the moment with a cheeky song, repeatedly singing “It’s the glam squad” to the audience. “I want to look beautiful for you,” Carey said, and the audience loved it.

He often took breaks between pieces to talk and joke with his audience. What is often missing from narratives about Mariah Carey is her sense of humor and sass, her wit and wit. But her fans (known as “lambs”) always knew this, and from the beginning, Carey has made a point of interacting with people who see her as her whole self.

But what really made the night stand out was the inclusion of songs like “Make it Happen” and “Fly Like a Bird” (this reviewer’s personal favorite). Carey has never hidden her strong religious faith (she’s Episcopalian), but this is often overlooked by casual listeners who only know her greatest songs. Both tracks, performed back to back by Carey, incorporate gospel into her signature pop/R&B melodies. Carey saved some of her best vocals for this moment, giving the songs room to breathe and penetrate the arena. She was also accompanied by a gospel choir during these songs and throughout the night (most poignantly in her renditions of “Silent Night” and “Joy to the World”).

Both songs are overtly religious, and their inclusion makes perfect sense for a Christmas-themed show. While there’s sparkle, sweetness and silliness during Christmas time, there’s also a reason for the season. Carey gets to the root of the season, the heart of the matter, and she does it with ease.

Britt Julious is a freelance critic.


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