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Christmas Comes Early To The Grove

Alexis Driggs, Jackie Mansky |
November 14, 2011 | 1:28 a.m. PST

Staff Reporters

Credit Alexis Driggs
Credit Alexis Driggs
There was something for everyone at the Hollywood Christmas Celebration and Tree Lighting at The Grove on Sunday. Rick Caruso brought together a diverse selection of popular recording artists to perform holiday classics, hosted by Mario Lopez.

While tree lighting ceremonies traditionally happen after Thanksgiving, the audience seemed more than happy to get a head start on holiday festivities. The Grove was filled to capacity and officials were forced to turn away late arrivals.

The lucky fans with a clear view of the stage were treated to music from artists as diverse as Colbie Caillat singing, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” to Il Divo performing “Time to Say Goodbye."

Dressed in traditional red and green, Sean Kingston performed a soulful Jamaican-infused take on “Little Drummer Boy.” American Idol runner-up Lauren Alaina brought a country twang to the night with a country-pop medley of “Blue Christmas” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

Gavin DeGraw stepped onto the stage in all-black attire for an understated rendition of “The Christmas Song,” that was overshadowed by his much more energetic performance of his latest single, “Not Over You.”

With gelled hair and an open collar, Robin Thicke channeled his inner Elvis with the Christmas classic “Merry Christmas Baby.” Thicke also introduced an original song, “Pretty Little Heart.”

Eleven-year-old Jackie Evancho rounded out the performers with a show-stopping rendition of “Believe” followed by a dance number by Caruso’s Top Hats. The group of follies finished their act by opening up an oversized present which revealed Santa. As the soap-flake snow began to fall, Santa took center stage and pressed a button to light up the 100-foot Christmas tree behind him. Over the top of the glimmering tree, the audience was treated to a spectacular firework display, ending the night with a bang.

The tree lighting ceremony was just the start to the Grove’s holiday season. Children who missed Santa Sunday night have the opportunity to visit and take pictures with him at his cottage at the Grove. Through December, shoppers will also be treated to fake snow "flurries" every night at 7 and 8 pm.  In addition, there will be more live performances throughout the season.

Reach reporter Alexis Driggs here and reporter Jackie Mansky here.

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