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Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, Ariana Grande, More to Perform at ‘Christmas in Rockefeller Center’

Credit: NBC

Credit: NBC

Christmas in Rockefeller Center is a holiday tradition for NBC, with musical guests galore turning up for the lighting of the world’s most famous Christmas tree. Yet the 81st annual celebration might be the most star-studded lineup yet.

Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, Kenny ‘Babyface’ Edmonds, Goo Goo Dolls, Ariana Grande and Jewel have been added to the list of performers for the annual holiday special, to be hosted by Today anchors Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Natalie Morales on Wednesday, December 4.

It’s not just about the music, however, as the ceremony will culminate in the lighting of a 76-foot Norway Spruce that is 47 feet in diameter and weighs approximately 12 tons. The tree, estimated to be about 75 years old, will feature more than 45,000 energy-efficient multi-colored LED lights, and will be topped with a 9 ½ foot wide LED-lit Swarovski crystal star.

The lighting of the tree is a tradition that dates back to 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression. The inaugural Rockefeller Christmas tree was decked with a comparatively scant 700 lights and placed in front of the then eight-month-old RCA Building, which is currently the GE Building. The annual event became a spectacle in 1936 with the opening of the Rockefeller Plaza outdoor ice-skating pond, yet it wasn’t until NBC-TV televised the tree lighting for the first time in 1951 on The Kate Smith Show — and as part of the nationwide Howdy Doody television show from 1953-55 — that the ceremony became iconic.

Prior to this year’s primetime telecast, an additional live hour of the special (7-8 p.m. ET) will be broadcast by the following NBC stations: WNBC/New York; WCAU/Philadelphia; KSNV/Las Vegas; WBBH/Fort Myers, Fla.; KHNL/Honolulu, Hawaii; WNWO/Toledo, Ohio; WTWC/Tallahassee, Fla.; WVIR/Charlottesville, Va., WETM/Elmira, N.Y.; WGBC/Meridian, Miss.; KHBC/Hilo, Hawaii; and KOGG/Wailuku, Hawaii.

Christmas in Rockefeller Center will air on Wednesday, Dec. 4 (8-9 p.m. ET) on NBC.

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