Jessica Simpson might be the holiday pinup of 2004, thanks to her recent album and TV show, but Mariah Carey is a close second, even though her Christmas album was released 10 years ago. Thanks to the online resurgence of Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You," Carey's dreaming of a Disney — and a Broadway — Christmas.
Carey's signed on to perform at the 21st annual Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade, where she'll sing "Joy to the World" as well as "All I Want for Christmas," which currently ranks as a top-10 seller — and was recently the best-selling holiday song — on iTunes. The two-hour parade, which will be hosted by Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa, will be broadcast at 1 p.m. ET on December 25 on ABC, and will also feature performances from Ashanti, "American Idol" favorites Kelly Clarkson and Diana DeGarmo, and country stars Wynonna Judd and Shedaisy.
But that's not all — Carey's also planning ahead for next year, when she would like to make her Broadway debut. It's too early for many details on the project, but the singer hopes to create, produce and star in an annual Christmas musical, according to her label publicist.
For now, she's content to star on her upcoming album, The Emancipation of Mimi (due out March 22), for which she's enlisted a slew of collaborators (see "With Help From Kanye, R. Kelly, Snoop, Mariah Readies New LP"). Most of her current guest stars are from the hip-hop world, and past collaborator Jay-Z said that's because the singer, whom he describes as "really a regular person," is a hip-hop fanatic. "She has a wealth of information about hip-hop," he said. "She listens to a ton of hip-hop."
At the same time, Carey's current collaborators are trying to help her get back to her roots, a key reason why she feels the album is an "emancipation" (see "Janet Has Damita Jo, Madonna Has Esther — Now, Mariah Has 'Mimi' ").
"I brought Mariah back to Mariah Carey," said producer Jermaine Dupri, who worked with her on four songs. "Her singing is something kids could follow. All those kids like Christina Aguilera, they looked up to Mariah when they first came out. That was the person they liked voicewise. In the studio, I'm telling Mariah, 'This is what you gotta do, you gotta get yourself back to what kids is following.' "
"I always looked up to Mariah," said collaborator Pharrell Williams, who worked with her on two songs. "She broke a lot of records — literally. And our records, they feel wonderful. For me, it was a pleasure."