Christmas in Rockefeller Center will jumping with sounds of R&B, Soul and Pop this year thanks to a just announced line up that includes veteran recording artists Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige and Toni Braxton.
Slated to air Wednesday, Dec. 4 on NBC, the annual special will also include performances from Kelly Clarkson, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, Goo Goo Dolls, Ariana Grande and Jewel.
"NBC will celebrate the lighting of the world's most famous Christmas tree with a live broadcast from Rockefeller Center in New York City on Wednesday, Dec. 4 (8-9 p.m. ET)," NBC reports. "The star-studded holiday special is hosted by "Today" anchors Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Natalie Morales."
The 81st annual holiday extravaganza will feature a 76-foot Norway Spruce that is 47 feet in diameter and weighs approximately 12 tons. The tree is estimated to be about 75 years old. More than 45,000 energy-efficient multi-colored LED lights will be strung to decorate the tree, topped with a 9 1/2 foot wide LED-lit Swarovski crystal star.
The tradition of the Rockefeller Christmas tree dates back to the Great Depression. First erected in 1933, the inaugural tree was decked with 700 lights and placed in front of the then eight-month-old RCA Building (the current GE Building). The Christmas tree gathering was enhanced in 1936 with the opening of the Rockefeller Plaza outdoor ice-skating pond. 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.