'Jeopardy!' Host Alex Trebek Checks off 'Real Treat' Bucket List Item at Annual Holiday Party Amid Cancer Battle

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek held his annual Christmas party on Wednesday night and finally got to check something off his bucket list. The longtime host got a special performance from singer Don McLean, whom Trebek always hoped would perform for him some day. This year's party was particularly poignant because it comes as Trebek battles prostate cancer.

The 79-year-old Trebek hosted his annual Christmas party at Feinstein's at Vitello's in Los Angeles with many of his friends in attendance, reports PEOPLE. The magazine also published photos of the "American Pie" singer joining Trebek onstage. Trebek tried to hire him for the party, but it was out of his budget. McLean showed up anyway!

"I sent an email to Don's people on his website and here we are tonight," Trebek told the audience. "I can officially take this off of my bucket list. This was a real treat for me."

Trebek organized his party, and even picked the seven songs for McLean to perform.

"I had never met Alex and normally I just come in and do my thing," McLean told PEOPLE. "When I arrived, Alex handed me a piece of paper with a list of songs he wanted me to perform and in the order he wanted them performed in. Then when I looked next to each song, he had timed them out."

McLean agreed to perform Trebek's setlist, but he did make one change.

"Except I did toss in one Christmas song in the spirit of the event!" McLean said. "Alex is a wonderful man and is loved by the world."

Comedian Paula Poundstone also performed a surprise set for the audience.

Trebek was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer earlier this year. His health took a turn for the worse over the summer, as he told Good Morning America he was undergoing chemotherapy again after a "dismal" summer. He also told CTV in October that his hosting skills have begun to "diminish."

"I'm hanging in," Trebek said in October. "So we're back on the chemo and we'll see if the numbers go down. And if they do...they can't keep doing it forever of course. They'll have to find a new protocol or whatever to administer. We'll play it by ear and keep chugging along until we either win or lose."


Thankfully, Trebek has looked better in recent behind-the-scenes photos. He is signed to continue hosting through 2022.
ABC will debut the first episode of the Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time tournament on Jan. 8 at 8 p.m. ET to honor Trebek.

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