Michael Buble sings up a winter wonderland on NBC
Somewhere, someone may love Christmas more than Michael Buble, but if that person exists, it's Santa.
Buble listens to Christmas music year-round and talks about the holiday with the sort of sincerity usually reserved for wish lists while perched on Santa's knee. At 10 p.m. Monday, he brings that love of the holiday, his incredible voice and warmth back to NBC for his second Christmas special, “Michael Buble: Home for the Holidays,” on NBC.
“It's better than last year,” Buble says. “It's so completely fast, fun and loose.”
Buble grew up watching “The Andy Williams Christmas Special,” relishing the warmth and ease with which Williams welcomed his guests and audience. Buble aims to replicate that and understands the importance of being a gracious host.
“The truth is my goal is to have an annual special,” he says. “I wanted to make an old-school special.”
Relaxing in a Manhattan hotel overlooking Central Park, Buble is so guileless and enthusiastic that the interview is less promotional and more inspirational as he tells why he adores Christmas.
“The Christmas of my youth was full of love,” Buble says of growing up in a Vancouver home where his mom put up the tree in late October, and he listened to Bing Crosby's “White Christmas” in the summer — and fall and spring as well.
Now his family and friends descend on his Vancouver house, where, he says, “we all eat too much and drink too much and laugh.” Last year's party went until 4 a.m., when police arrived. They told Buble the party must be quieter, then the police wound up staying for drinks.
Buble is so genuinely amped up about the holiday it's natural to ask about his favorite gifts. He approaches the question far more honestly than many people who have made a lot of money and says, without airs, that he can buy himself anything he wants. He does, after all, co-own a hockey team.
Buble considers what his presents have been and comes up with socks and underwear. He shows the underwear, which he is wearing. Only Buble could do this while talking about the joys of Christmas and not come off as a perv. Incidentally, he reveals briefs emblazoned with “I want you” that his wife gave him.
Buble also shows something else, which everyone gets to see — the special. As of this interview, the show is not finalized, and the rougher version is on his laptop.
“The show isn't about me,” Buble says. “Hopefully, it is where artists will come to promote Christmas songs.”
The special has him singing with fellow British Columbia native Carly Rae Jepsen, Blake Shelton, Rod Stewart and Elmo.
The opening is a beautiful montage of Vancouver. Buble alights from a plane, singing “Let It Snow.” He even skate-dances wearing a jersey of his hockey team, the Vancouver Giants, then drives the Zamboni.
Buble has a duet of “White Christmas” with his beloved Bing Crosby, courtesy of the special-effects people from “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”
Elmo, wearing a festive green plaid vest, turns down Buble's offer of cookies and explains, “Elmo likes wasabi. That's why Elmo doesn't have any eyelids.”
Buble and Elmo sing, “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth.” With Jepsen, Buble sings a medley of “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.”
“It was a total ball,” Jepsen says earlier in the month from her tour. “Michael is a lot of fun. He is very easy and hilarious to work with and was cracking me up. I had to do a lot of takes.”
This was a mutual admiration, as Buble, separately, says, “I kind of have a crush on her. She is from my hometown, and we went through the same talent competitions and clubs.
“She had worked for 10 years before she was signed,” he continues. “I was the same. It makes you more humble, more appreciative. Your head is on straight; you are more appreciative. She has a great voice and is quirky and beautiful. All of us fell in love with her.”
Another guest on the special is Buble's close pal Shelton. Buble rewrote Shelton's hit “Home” as a Christmas song. They perform that as a duet. Buble cheers Shelton's success.
“That gave me faith that good things happen to good people,” Buble says.
This special also has him singing “Winter Wonderland” with Stewart. Stewart solos on “Blue Christmas.”
Buble's “Michael Buble Christmas” became the second best-selling CD of 2011, selling more than 6.5 million copies.
“Having last year's special under my belt, I understood about bumpers (separating segments). And doing it from home made it so much fun,” Buble says. “I'll never again allow anyone to come up with a concept for anything. I am not a control freak. I have a great team around me, but ideas? Never, never, ever!”
Jacqueline Cutler is a staff writer for Zap2it.com.