Neither sleet, driving snow, nor bone-chilling temperatures could stop several thousand determined SHeDAISY fans from turning out in a blizzard to secure a choice spot for TNN’s November filming of A SHeVERY Merry Christmas.
Airing Tuesday, Dec. 19 (8 p.m. ET/PT), the show is the first TV special for the platinum-selling trio of attractive sisters from Magna, Utah. Shot at picturesque Thanksgiving Point Amphitheater, near their home, the special gives Kristyn, Kassidy and Kelsi Osborn a chance to feature songs from Brand New Year, their new Christmas album. They also welcome, from the pop world, guests Jewel, Brian McKnight and Richard Marx, to share in the holiday cheer.
In a recent interview, Kristyn, the songwriter of the group and the oldest of the sisters, recalls the frigid weather the group endured on the day of filming. “It was the first snowstorm of the year,” says the one who sports blonde hair and curly tresses. “It was a blizzard all day. In fact, we thought we might have to cancel the show. We were outside at rehearsal just miserably freezing. We were seriously thinking nobody was going to show up and subject themselves to this. But we had people starting to show up three hours before the show. They stood for hours. It was amazing. I think it got down to 17 degrees.”
Despite the weather, the show was close to a sellout, and the crowd that showed up was wildly enthusiastic. Bundled in colorful hats, coats and blankets, the audience played a major role in giving the special its wintry, Christmas feel. The chill in the air is visible in the breath of performers and audience. In a dramatic outdoor setting, the open stage is decorated for the holidays. Behind the stage, lighted waterfalls cascade from a mountainous rock wall surrounding the amphitheater.
Decked out in colorful down jackets, sweaters and scarves, SHeDAISY opens the show, appropriately, with their SHeDAISY-fied treatment of “Deck the Halls.” Their version of the holiday favorite, recorded last year for Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas, a Disney project, went to No. 40 on the Billboard country singles chart.
Their unique spin on the Christmas classic inspired this year’s foray into holiday fare, Brand New Year. “We gave people a different option for Christmas,” Kristyn reasons. “That’s what we want — what we look for when we buy music. It motivated us to get our butts in gear and get ready for this year and do a Christmas record.”
During the special, raven-haired Kelsi, the middle Osborn, comments, “When we had the challenge of doing a Christmas album, we said, ’OK, if we’re going to do one, it’s got to be so unique, so different that people will think, ’Wow, this is so refreshing.'”
Attired in everything from vibrant sweater outfits, to slinky, black coordinated dresses and pantsuits, the trio cuts a striking figure throughout the special. During the course of the show, they perform a number of cuts from their new disc. There’s the pulsating “Deck the Halls.” They sing and gyrate to “Santa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” an original by Kristyn, and “That’s What I Want for Christmas.”
The a cappella “How Can I Keep From Singing,” discovered by youngest sister Kassidy — the brunette — showcases the group’s tight harmonies. “I had heard the song on the radio and brought it to Kristyn and Kelsi and said, ’Check this out, this song. It’s beautiful. We should do it sometime,'” she recalls during the special. “It really shows the sister harmony and really ties in Christmas for us, in a spiritual sense. It’s a hidden track on our Christmas CD.”
“It’s kind of our gift to everybody,” Kelsi adds.
Kristyn was thrilled that fellow singer-songwriter Jewel agreed to do the show, “As a writer, I’m especially impressed with her,” Kristyn says. “She was completely genuine. She wore Wranglers, and dates that bull rider [Ty Murray] and was living in Utah at one point.”
Wearing a long, camel-colored leather jacket and black leather pants, Jewel performs “Winter Wonderland,” moving from her little girl, alternative voice to a sultry alto — and yes, even adding some yodeling. It somehow works, and the audience loves it. The tune is on Jewel’s 1999 Christmas album, Joy: A Holiday Collection. With SHeDAISY contributing background harmony, Jewel also sings her self-penned ballad “What’s Simple Is True” from her 1998 release, Spirit. During the show Jewel explains that she chose the tune because of its winter imagery. Kristyn describes the song as “pure poetry.”
Clad in shiny, copper-colored pants and a striped, multi-colored, textured sweater, Bryan McKnight wows the crowd with “Back at One.” SHeDAISY joins McKnight on a harmony-rich rendition of “The First Noel.”
Richard Marx performs the impressive title cut from his new album, “Days in Avalon.” Marx has been friends with SHeDAISY for several years and, with Kristyn, co-wrote the title cut for Brand New Year and “Still Holding Out for You” from SHeDAISY’s breakthrough debut album, The Whole SHeBANG. Marx accompanies his friends on guitar as they close out the special with a soulful version of “Jingle Bells.”
Between performance segments, McKnight, Marx, Jewel and the Osborn sisters are featured in backstage interviews. Kristyn, Kassidy and Kelsi share their Christmas memories in a cozy lodge setting, and viewers see the sisters in a number of different holiday-themed moments.
TNN’s A SHeVERY Merry Christmas is a fun wintry romp. Some Christmas classics get a SHeDAISY-fied makeover, with additional holiday musical fare delivered by their fine musical guests from the pop world. It is an evening sure to warm a cold December night.
SHeDAISY begins studio work on a new album in January and will appear in several TV Christmas specials in December, including CMT’s Yulenanza!