It's no secret that Mariah Carey is extra festive. A notorious queen of excess, the iconic singer has consistently treated Christmas as less of a holiday and more a state of mind. The signifiers (trees, snowflakes, reindeer) serve as some source of otherworldly inspiration that's prompted her to release two Christmas albums -- 1994's Merry Christmas and 2010's Merry Christmas II You -- and even celebrate the holiday during the off-season. (She dressed up as Santa for Halloween this year.)
Once again, Christmas came early for Carey with the first of six Yuletide shows at New York City's Beacon Theater. Expectedly, the sold-out event was a spectacular, replete with a gospel choir, robust dancing troupe and faux snow. Throughout the 75-minute performance, Carey sang originals from her two LPs as well as carols, breathlessly pacing across the stage in a cream sequin dress that she later exchanged for a red-hued ensemble.
For some, the event could be seen as atonement for a string of subpar performances. In recent months, Carey's vocals have been squeaky and frayed, particularly during a painful performance in Japan in October and, more recently, a widely criticized rendition of "All I Want for Christmas Is You" at NBC's Christmas in Rockefeller Center special earlier month. For the latter, Carey missed a rehearsal and was forced to sing the song live, perhaps a sign that her vocal control is spiraling with age.