It was Christmas caroling to the max as Mariah Carey, Andrea Bocelli and Annie Lennox got into the songs of the season on Sunday at a star-studded holiday concert at the National Building Museum.
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Matthew Morrison, Miranda Cosgrove and Maxwell also were part of this year's Christmas in Washington, an annual special which will air at 8 p.m. ET/PT Friday on TNT. Ellen DeGeneres hosted.
President Obama and Michelle Obama showed up, along with Sasha, Malia and Marian Robinson, the first lady's mother.
A very pregnant-looking Carey, who was the first to perform, said in an interview before the show that the invitation was "an honor." Last month saw the release of her Christmas album, Merry Christmas II You, and this "seemed like the perfect way to highlight this holiday season." The mom-to-be, fittingly, belted out her new Christmas song One Child. Carey, dressed in a festive red sparkling dress with a large bow tied right above her burgeoning baby bump, sang against the backdrop of a group of singers made up of the Washington Youth Choir and the American Family Choir.
DeGeneres followed Carey's number. The host began by welcoming "the president, Mrs. Obama, family, friends and security that patted me down too much." She continued, "I think we all know why I am here — because Oprah is in Australia."
Broadway veteran Morrison — also known as Mr. Schuester on Fox's Glee— was happy to sing for the president, something he has done in Washington a couple of times before in the past two years. "When Obama calls, I'm there," Morrison joked before the show. As for Glee, "I know Michelle definitely does (watch the show) ... Obama said he watched two episodes. I don't know if I believe him!"
Morrison sang a medley of I'll Be Home for Christmasand the Hawaiian-themed Christmas song Mele Kalikimaka.
"We had a lot of Christmas carols going on in the house when I was growing up, so to come and actually sing them and indulge in the whole Christmas spirit is kind of exciting," said Morrison, who in the fall recorded a holiday album with the Glee cast. After Morrison's set, Lennox, who also just released a Christmas album, sang her original song Universal Child. "I'm really honored to sing it in front of the people here," she said before the show.
DeGeneres kept the jokes rolling between performances, making sure to cater to the inside-the-Beltway crowd. "I have some bad news. ... I've just been told that Santa's naughty-and-nice list has shown up on WikiLeaks."
The evening's "special guest performer," Italian tenor Bocelli, was up next with White Christmas.
Nickelodeon's iCarly star Miranda Cosgrove, 17, picked up the evening's pace with the pop hit Last Christmas. The day before was a busy one for the teen star: She preceded the concert's rehearsals by taking the standardized ACT test at a local high school. "There were breaks, so I ended up hanging out with some of the other kids. ... It was fun," says Cosgrove, who "really wants to go to NYU and USC. ... My ultimate dream is two years at each."
Maxwell sang the heartwarming Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
For the concert's finale, all of the stars and both choirs returned to the stage to sing a medley of revered classics includingJoy to the World, Away in a Manger, Angels From the Realms of Glory, O Holy Nightand O Come All Ye Faithful.
"What a wonderful show," the president said in closing the special and reflecting on the reason behind the season. "It's a message that guides my Christian faith. ... We hold in our hearts those who have fallen on hard times this holiday season." Obama wished the audience a happy holiday and, along with his family, joined everyone in a rendition of Hark the Herald Angels Sing.
The TNT telecast marks the network's 12th presentation of Christmas in Washington, which is in its 29th year overall and benefits the Children's National Medical Center.