The 88th Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting ceremony will look a little different this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. Still, there's no shortage of cheer awaiting the people at home wanting to tune into the annual holiday event. While the tree lighting typically draws massive crowds in New York City, the ceremony will be closed to the public as a safety measure amid the country's third COVID-19 spike.
However, NBC's annual special, Christmas in Rockefeller Center, which centers around the tree lighting, will still air live Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET/delayed PT. During the special, viewers will also get to rock out to their favorite tunes with Kelly Clarkson, Jimmy Fallon, Brett Eldredge, Goo Goo Dolls, Tori Kelly, Leslie Odom Jr., Pentatonix, Earth, Wind & Fire, Dolly Parton, Gwen Stefani and Meghan Trainor. The cast of Broadway's Tony Award-winning musical "Ain't Too Proud" will also perform a musical number, and the Radio City Rockettes will also put on their own show.
The 75-foot Norway spruce went viral when it arrived in New York City last month, with people comparing it to the Charlie Brown Christmas tree due to its bedraggled appearance. The discourse prompted the Rockefeller Center to respond in defense of the tree, joking on Twitter, "Wow, you all must look great right after a two-day drive, huh? Just wait until I get my lights on!"
"If there was ever a year that we needed a tree lighting celebration, it's 2020," TODAY host Craig Melvin, who will host the tree lighting alongside co-stars Hoda Kotb, Savannah Guthrie and Al Roker, told USA Today. "So many of our traditions have unfortunately fallen by the wayside this year, so it is paramount that the tree lighting celebration go on."
Kotb added to the outlet, "This is going to show us that in this moment, on this day, with this tree, things are normal for this one moment. Let's just take that moment for what it is and just realize that next year things will be back to normal."
With 50,000 multicolored LED lights and a Swarovski crystal star, the tree is guaranteed to bring a little sparkle to the holiday season. If you're looking for more Christmas spirit after the tree lighting, NBC is airing the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes – At Home Holiday Special right after at 10 p.m. ET/delayed PT, which will be hosted by Kotb and Guthrie.