Mariah Carey has had a tough year.
Between her pending divorce from Nick Cannon and the chilly reception for her underappreciated "Me. I Am Mariah. The Elusive Chanteuse" album, the former Greenlawn resident could use some joyful tidings.
And that's what she found in an extraordinarily entertaining, 75-minute holiday revue that showed off her self-deprecating charm, loopy sense of humor and, most of all, her powerful voice.
"I love Christmas," she said, adding that she wouldn't have recorded two albums of holiday music if she didn't. "I think it's some of my best work."
Her six-show run at the Beacon Theatre in Manhattan, which started last night, will be her only American concerts this year, having opted to wrap her "Elusive Chanteuse Show" tour in November, after stops in Asia and Australia.
Questions were raised about Carey’s legendary voice during that tour, as well as her recent appearance at the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony. But those worries were misplaced.
Her voice was in rare form. And the crowd cheered every impressive high note or lovely flourish. During Carey's gospel-soul version of "O Holy Night," the vocal gymnastics were first-rate, but the way she stuck each landing was even more powerful.
She wasn't perfect, but her missteps were actually endearing. When her mic pack fell off during "Hero," the only non-holiday song she did all night, she yelled, "Cut!" and started over casually. The revue was well=paced, with children taking the lead on some carols like "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," while the Broadway Inspirational Voices choir added some gospel heft to others.
For "Silent Night," the 20-member choir and the 20-member dance troupe were on stage with Carey and her seven-member band for a lovely moment of communal holiday spirit.
It's rare to see Carey so relaxed. And she looked thoroughly pleased to belt out her evergreen holiday anthem "All I Want for Christmas Is You," surrounded by 20 dancers.
No matter what Carey has gone through in 2014, her holidays are still happy.
SET LIST: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing / Charlie Brown Christmas / Oh Santa / Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) / Kids – Santa Claus is Coming to Town / Trey Lorenz and Broadway Inspirational Voices – Jesus Oh What a Child / Silent Night / Joy to the World/Joy to the World / When Christmas Comes / Here Comes Santa Claus / Kids – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus / Broadway Inspirational Voices – Christmas Is Here / Christmas Is in the Air Again / O Holy Night / Hero / All I Want for Christmas Is You