A Happy & Sad Holiday

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A Happy & Sad Holiday

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Kacey Musgraves is undoubtedly the reigning princess of country music, and it looks like she is trying to expand her territory to other areas of pop culture. Move over Mariah Carey! We have a new Christmas debutant in town. “The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show” premiered on Amazon Prime on Nov. 28 and included A-list celebrities such as Kendall Jenner, Camilla Cabello and Lana Del Rey. With Kacey’s charisma and Christmas cheer, the show is a combination of singing, dancing and audience laugh tracks.

This is not the first time Kacey has gotten into the Christmas spirit. In 2016, she released her first Christmas album, directly following the success of her first album, “Same Trailer Different Park. But that more or less fit the mold. With this year’s “Christmas Show,” Kacey created a visual work of art as well as fresh festive tunes. Of all holiday-themed art we have seen this season in the mainstream, it definitely pushes the envelope for what a Christmas special could be.

Part of what accomplishes this is the original music made for the show. Dabbling in downtrodden tunes is not new for Musgraves, but there seems to be an extra sparkle on songs such as “Christmas Makes Me Cry” and “Glittery,” the latter being a duet with singer Troye Sivan. In both of those songs, Musgraves explores aspects of the holidays that are less talked about. Sometimes Christmas doesn’t fix everything. Opening gifts or seeing old friends may lift us up for one moment, but the next we are back to feeling lonely or unfulfilled. Musgraves provides clarity when talking about these messier emotions of Christmas.

We can also see the complete opposite, where Musgraves lets her charisma shine on screen, in original songs like “Present Without a Bow” or the show’s finale “Ribbons and Bows.” This is where Mariah Carey really needs to watch out. The reason Carey’s classic “All I Want for Christmas” was and still is so popular is because it’s just plain fun. I dance around to “All I Want for Christmas” with my friends, my family and sometimes with complete strangers. Musgraves’ festive bops do the same. While, yes, there are emotionally negative aspects of the holidays sometimes, these upbeat songs remind us of how the holidays are a time to forget your responsibilities and just dance. 

Musgraves also leans into the traditional Christmas spirit both in song and in style. One of the highlights of the show is Musgraves’ duet with acclaimed vocalist and songwriter Lana Del Rey. Their rendition of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” There were many other celebrity guests, such as James Corden, Leon Bridges, Camila Cabello, Fred Armisen, Zooey Deschanel and Dan Levy, all contributing to the program in their own unique way. But the star guest appearance was none other than Nana, Kacey Musgraves’ actual grandmother! She rings in the finale, saves the plotline and almost steals the show.

But in my opinion, what really steals the show is the fashion. Kacey just really pulls it off at all times. It’s not surprising—one has to be fashionable if they are the princess of country music—BUT Kacey puts a festive spin on her regular style of western-chic. Kacey changes for every scene, allowing the audience to witness an evolution of gowns, sparkly rompers and pantsuits. Each outfit is perfectly curated to her music and visually adds to the show.

It is through those visuals that Musgraves brings us deeper into her world. The celebrity cameos are fun, but it’s hard to say that any other musician would be able to stand in the middle of a production like this. At least they probably wouldn’t do it as stylishly, as comically or as heartfelt as Musgraves. While there are some more grounded moments throughout the show, in the end, it reminds us of the joy of the holidays and the reason we celebrate at all.