“Do you want to stay, Mr. President?” host Eva Longoria asked mischievously from the stage, as many in the audience cheered. No word on Obama’s reaction to that one.
The annual holiday event, which filmed Thursday night outside the White House, provided many delightful moments: Chance the Rapper sang “Sunday Candy” with a backup choir; country superstar couple Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood teamed up with James Taylor and his wife, Kim Taylor, for “What I’m Thankful For (The Thanksgiving Song)”; and Kelly Clarkson got caught on a hot-mic, though luckily she was only singing a few bars of a song instead of making any scandalous comments.
Clarkson, who belted out “Please Come Home for Christmas” and “Run Run Rudolph,” was one of several stars caught up in occasional technical glitches. “No, seriously, I don’t know what to do,” she said at the end of her first song, unsure about where to go next. “We didn’t go over this part!”
Later, Brooks and Yearwood’s microphones malfunctioned and they had to start over with their performance of “I’m Beginning to See the Light.” Brooks joked that it was unfortunate the audience couldn’t hear him the first time, because he “never sang it that good, ever, in my life.”
President Obama delivered a brief message at the end of the ceremony, and talked about how the holidays are a time for reflection and perspective. As he comes to the end of his last eight years as president, he said, he still believes there’s “much more that unites and than divides us.”
He also called the event’s lineup (which also included Yolanda Adams, Marc Anthony and the Lumineers) “like a Christmas edition of Lollapalooza,” and ended the night as anyone should — a group singalong of “Jingle Bells” with Santa Claus.