PREVIEW: NBC begins unwrapping 2021 Christmas specials

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(WCMH) — Wednesday night, NBC is kicking off the 2021 Christmas season with two holiday specials with “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” at 8 p.m. and “Kelly Clarkson Presents: When Christmas Comes Around” at 10 p.m.

The classic “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” special will include the official tree-lighting ceremony of the Christmas tree outside the New York landmark building which, according to the network, is a Norway Spruce that measures 79-feet tall and 46-feet wide and weighs approximately 12 tons.

NBC previously announced performances by Alessia Cara, Harry Connick Jr., Mickey Guyton, Norah Jones, Brad Paisley, Rob Thomas, Carrie Underwood and the Radio City Rockettes. New additions to the lineup will include Pentatonix, José Feliciano & CNCO and the cast of the Broadway musical “Come From Away.” 

The network says it has also enlisted the co-anchors of NBC News’ “Today” show, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Al Roker and Craig Melvin, to host the program.

NBC’s new special, “Kelly Clarkson Presents: When Christmas Comes Around,” will be hosted by “The Voice” coach and feature songs off her just-released Christmas album of the same name.

In an interview about the special Clarkson talked about the songs she would be singing from her fresh collection.

“In the Christmas special, ‘When Christmas Comes Around,’ basically we’re doing a few of the new ones on the album,” said Clarkson. “There’s one that’s not your typical, well, there’s two, that’s not your typical Christmas song, one ‘Christmas Isn’t Cancelled (Just You),’ which is my single. But you know, I feel like a lot of things were canceled and taken from us and I’m like, ‘You cannot have Christmas,’ like your life might be just an absolute storm, but at least Christmas is still there and it’s steady, so…

“And then, ‘Merry Christmas to the One I Used to Know,’ is another one that I, I wrote for this album and I feel like ‘Hard Candy Christmas,’ like, from Dolly [Parton] kind of opened up the door to like songs that you can actually sing about real things that also happen at Christmas, like real feelings that happen, that aren’t always so happy and merry and so that, that’s going to be on there as well.”

The broadcast will also feature some superstar appearances including Brett Eldredge, Ariana Grande, Jay Leno, Ariana Grande, Leslie Odom Jr., Amy Poehler and Santa Claus.

Clarkson talked specifically about fellow “Voice” coach Ariana Grande joining her on stage.

“I’m also singing a duet with Ariana Grande that I wrote called ‘Santa Can’t You Hear Me’ and it’s just a really fun song,” said Clarkson “It’s just like one of those big like diva songs where we’re trading back and forth and she’s one hell of a singer, so it’s just a really good time.”

Additionally, she added some hints about the “life-changing surprises” that would be awarded to some “special everyday heroes” mentioned in an earlier release from NBC about the program.

“We have a couple stories that are just crazy cool and just amazing humans that we get to highlight and we really get to help and give a lot of money to, so they can like really, you know, have their dreams come true,” she said. “And because their dreams are also helping other people, so it’s a really cool thing to get to watch and these stories kind of unfold.”

Watch “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” at 8 p.m. and “Kelly Clarkson Presents: When Christmas Comes Around” at 10 p.m. tonight on NBC4.

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