With her new holiday special, The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show, Kacey Musgraves proves that her star power only continues to grow.
The idea for the made-for-TV event arose from a conversation Musgraves had with her band leader last year about creating a classic holiday special that brings her 2016 album A Very Kacey Christmas to life. Musgraves and her team transformed this vision into an elaborate set of pink glistening Christmas trees, gorgeous ensembles that her stylist Erica Cloud describes as “Wes Anderson meets Gucci” and range from a chic, tan Western suit to a gorgeous red gown, and a star-studded cast that includes Fred Armisen, Zooey Deschanel, James Corden, Lana Del Rey, Camilla Cabello and more, with beloved Schitt’s Creek star Dan Levy serving as narrator. Musgraves’ nana, Barbara Dean, also makes a special appearance.
Musgraves delivers on this clever, creative concept that’s set up like a telethon, complete with a live studio audience and a team of operators in the control room. Combined with an elaborate set that looks like the interior of a Victorian dollhouse, Musgraves achieves the classic feel that she was aiming for while stepping out of her comfort zone, sharpening her new acting and scripted comedy skills.
She sets the stage by opening the show singing “Let it Snow” with James Corden in the middle of an artificial snowstorm that blasts through the windows of her makeshift home before trying to sing “Silent Night” with Fred Armisen while an intrusive handyman carries out his nosiest chores in the background. The “High Horse” singer also allows her band to step into the spotlight, engaging in playful banter with them as they step from behind their instruments to test out their own comedic chops.
Her unique ideas shine throughout the special, whether floating upside down on the ceiling as she sings “Present Without a Bow” with Leon Bridges or adding fiddle, steel guitar and accordion to give “Silent Night” a country edge while still capturing its beauty. But the purest moment, one that is distinctly Musgraves, is when she sings “Christmas Makes Me Cry.” “It feels like we’re supposed to be happy during the holidays, but sometimes they just make you really sad,” she begins. “So I wrote this song for anybody who might be feeling a little bit lonely.” With just her guitar and a microphone, sitting poised in a bedroom set with giant tree in the corner, the gentle, but heartbreaking song feels like a moment separate from the glamor and flash around her. Musgraves steps outside of the extravagance of it all to deliver a human message, speaking to the outliers and lonely souls as she so poetically does.
The heartfelt moment is curtailed with a snarky comment from Levy (“so Kacey had an emo moment in her bedroom…”), leading into the second half of the show that feels more natural and confident, demonstrated by a series of solid one-liners shared between Musgraves and the Schitt’s Creek star, such as when he hands her a tin of “homemade” cookies that were “processed in a factory” (“that’s what I call my kitchen,” he says) and expired in 2017 (“always looking out for your health,” he replies). Musgraves rounds out the show with the debut of her charming new duet with Troye Sivan, “Glittery,” and a dreamlike rendition of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” with Lana Del Rey. And when the final, and arguably most precious, guest star appears at show’s end – her nana – Musgraves brings it back to that human place that makes her so beloved.
The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show reflects what the Grammy winner does best: creating a classic aesthetic that mixes her own brand of western flair, country music and 70s style with a modern look, demonstrating her ability to compellingly reimagine holiday standards while creating some of her own. With this special, Musgraves proves how the success of Golden Hour has positioned her as a burgeoning superstar with the gift to draw all walks of life to her – a power she’s always possessed, but one that glow even brighter in this dynamic and celebratory event.
The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show premieres on Amazon Prime Video on Fri., Nov. 29.