No dry eye was left at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles on Saturday night, when Mariah dedicated a song to McKenzie, a young girl from the "Make A Wish" foundation, whose Christmas wish is to get a kidney transplant. Mariah granted McKenzie's other wish by bringing her into the show and celebrating an early Christmas with her.
In her first ever televised Christmas concert, Mariah performed a repertoire of 10 songs from her two Christmas albums, Merry Christmas and Merry Christmas II You, bookending the show with the recent #1 & #2 songs on Billboard's Holiday Songs Chart, her original songs "Oh Santa!" and "All I Want For Christmas Is You".
The night was celebrated in true holiday fashion; From the beautiful stage decorations, the crowd's Christmas colored outfits (including Santa hats!) to Mariah's spirit throughout the show. A snowman, the Gingerbread man and snowflakes that came down at the end of the show left no doubt: Christmas came early to Los Angeles!
With the mood and decorations all set, it was time to get to the music. Musical highlights were witnessed during every performance, bringing the crowd to its feet over and over.
Mariah talked about recording and putting into a medley favorite Christmas classics before performing "O Little Town of Bethlehem/Little Drummer Boy Medley" and did a few takes of another original creation "When Christmas Comes" whose ending was rearranged for the show.
Mariah's beautiful vocals were supported by her four background singers (Maryann Tatum-Shields, Sherry Tatum-Frederick, Trey Lorenz and Melonie Daniels, who worked on Merry Christmas) as well as Jonathan Grier and Tribe of Judah Choir who took the stage for several songs, including "O Holy Night" and "Joy To The World".
A string orchestra and Mariah's band provided live instrumentation for the performances, some of which were rearranged especially for the show. Mariah's new original song "Christmas Time Is In The Air Again", co-written by Marc Shaiman, was magically recreated on stage with Eric Daniels on the piano.
Special guests Randy Jackson on the bass and Big Jim Wright on the piano, joined Mariah on stage for "Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)/Housetop Celebration" and "Charlie Brown Christmas". In the latter performance, the audience was treated to a unique experience of Mariah smoothly singing solo on top of the live instrument.
Moments prior to the festive finale, a very special guest was brought on stage: Mariah's mother, Patricia Carey who joined her daughter for the "O Come All Ye Faithful/Hallelujah Chorus" duet. This extraordinary moment was given standing ovations during and after the performance. Fans described it as an inspiring display that left them in awe of both singers.
Mariah's "Merry Christmas To You" Christmas Special will air on Monday, December 13 at 9:00pm ET on ABC.