Live television musicals are now an annual thing, and A Christmas Story: Live started out the way other FOX broadcasts like Grease!: Live did — with a live, slightly unrelated musical number. Pop star Bebe Rexha opened the show with the original song "Count on Christmas," leaving many on Twitter wondering: Is Bebe Rexha lip syncing on A Christmas Story: Live? (Bustle reached out to FOX about whether the show's songs are sung live, but did not hear back by publication.)
These little vignettes before a musical are fun — they give a modern twist to what are usually older musicals, and they give people watching at home just that much more time to make it to their seats before the show starts (you always need to pick up some snacks, right?). Rexha's opening included dancers in Christmas pajamas, which makes it a-OK in my my book. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul wrote the song, and you may recognize their names — they won an Oscar and a Golden Globe last year for their work scoring La La Land and a Tony Award for their work on Dear Evan Hansen. These guys know what they're doing. But even then, people at home just weren't sure about this new number.
Um, way harsh, you guys? From my view, it didn't seem like Rexha was lip-syncing, and since all of the other characters on A Christmas Story Live are singing live, it seems unlikely that Rexha wouldn't be. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Maya Rudolph, who plays Mrs. Parker, expressed her nervousness about singing live. "In all the things that I’ve ever had to do in front of an audience, it’s singing that scares me the most," she said. "It’s a very vulnerable part of myself. I just feel completely naked singing." In a behind-the-scenes video documenting the recording of "Count On Christmas," Rexha said that she was nervous as well, as she had to sing live in front of the country. That would mean that signs point to yes, she was indeed singing live for the A Christmas Story Live! opening.
Rexha is fairly new on the music scene, so it's pretty cool that she gets this opportunity. For those of you that aren't familiar with the singer, she's best known for her collaborations with artists like G-Eazy, Martin Garrix, and David Guetta, and for writing songs for people like Selena Gomez, Nick Jonas, Rihanna, and Eminem.
For what it's worth, Rexha is having a grand old time participating in this musical. Her tweets have been pretty adorable. First she was anxious:
Then, she just wanted to go full promo:
She teased a little, too:
And finally, it culminated in this:
You kind of get the feeling that doing a show like this is all adrenaline. It's like being on a rollercoaster — you climb up the hill, preparing for a live audience, and then you get to the crest, the show goes on, and there's no turning back. That audience is there, and in the end, you are really glad you did it, and you would probably do it again (at least, that's how I feel after a rollercoaster).
And if you're at home, loving the live musicals that are gracing your screens, you're in luck — there are plenty more to come, and not just from FOX. According to Entertainment Weekly, the live musical version of RENT will air on FOX on Jan. 27, 2019. ABC will show The Little Mermaid some time in 2018, and NBC has plans to broadcast Bye Bye Birdie next year, too. This live musical thing isn't going anywhere, even if fans don't always believe the vocals.