It was an evening full of smiles, snow and festive cheer as
Decked out in a Santa-esque minidress, Carey kicked off the hour-long broadcast with her high-energy tune "Oh Santa" — the lead single from her second holiday album, Merry Christmas II You — as a pack of kids happily danced around the singer.
"They say it's unrealistic/ But I believe in you Saint Nick/ So grant this wish for me right quick/ Santa won't you come and make him mine this Christmas night," Mariah crooned before the sparkling stage setup.
Carey also put her own spin on Christmas classics by mashing them together. "Alright, so we're going to do a new song ... actually a very old song," she told the roaring crowd. "We created a medley of 'Little Drummer Boy' and 'O Little Town of Bethlehem' for the new album Merry Christmas II You, and we're going to play that one for you tonight. And here we go. ..."
During the number, the singer displayed her vocal acrobatics, including her soothing falsetto, with the assistance of a backing choir before kicking off "O Holy Night," which she described as one of her "favorite Christmas songs of all time." Soon after, friend and musical collaborator Randy Jackson joined the singer for a hip-hop-flavored rendition of "Here Comes Santa Claus (Housetop Celebration)."
The "American Idol" judge appeared excited to take the stage with the singer as he urged the audience to applaud for "the hottest, the dopest, the bestest ... Mariah Carey."
Later on, Carey sang another original, "When Christmas Comes," which she revealed she'd never performed live. The song draws similarities to her inspirational 2002 song "Fly Like a Bird."
Before a clip from the holiday classic "A Charlie Brown Christmas," the soon-to-be mother traded the show's earlier spectacles for a piano and accompanying player for a peaceful rendition of "Christmas Time Is Here" and fan favorite "Joy to the World."
The evening wasn't just full of jolly anthems though, as the focus turned to Make-a-Wish child Mackenzie, who is in need of a new kidney. Footage of the young girl was shown alongside her adoptive mother, Ronna Williams. After exchanging a few words with her, Carey directed the audience to give a round of applause to Mackenzie and dedicated her "Christmas Time Is in the Air Again" to her.
Making the celebration even more memorable was a performance by the singer and her mom, opera singer Patricia Carey, who took the stage together to perform a medley of "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "Hallelujah."
"Please give a big hand to my very special guest. My mother, Patricia Carey, is here tonight," the songbird said, standing next to her mother. "We're going to do a song from the new album Merry Christmas II You. This is something that's very close to both of our hearts."
And if fans ever wondered where Mimi got her vocal talent, it became clear last night. In a singing extravaganza, Patricia took control of the performance as Mariah followed behind with repetition lines until she busted out her signature whistle notes.
Carey ended the festivities on a high note (literally), singing her signature holiday classic "All I Want for Christmas Is You" as an entourage of holiday characters danced around the powerhouse diva. The gang offered her a batch of gifts, but the singer kept in tune with the song's lyrics by pushing their presents aside. As the song ended, the stage was transformed into a winter wonderland as a flood of snow fell atop the stage ceiling and onto Carey and company.
Did you catch Mariah's TV special? Share your thoughts about it in the comments!