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Rockefeller Center lights its Christmas Tree at the 79th Annual Star-Studded Celebration

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There is one thing that always puts everyone in the holiday spirit year after year—the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony hosted by Al Roker and Savannah Guthrie. At 8:58pm this evening, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Jerry I. and Rob Speyer, CEOs of Tishman Speyer and co-owner of Rockefeller Center, flipped the switch to light the Rockefeller Center Christmas. Standing 74-feet tall at 10-tons, the 75 year old Norway Spruce glistened as a newly enhanced Swarovski crystal star rested at the top. The beautiful, bright green spruce was donated from a yard in Mifflinville, PA, by 79-year old Nancy Keller, along with her daughter Debra, two grandsons Mitch and Billy and great-granddaughters Olivia and Emma. “We were thrilled to donate our tree,” said Debra, Nancy’s daughter. “We talked about it for years because we knew it was just the perfect tree for Rockefeller Center.” And, Rockefeller Center gardener Erik Pauze, couldn’t agree more. “The perfect tree has a nice shape and is full. We picked this tree because of its height, you couldn’t miss it,” said Pauze. There were many amazing acts that graced the rink this year. Michael Buble kicked off the show just right at 7pm and 8pm with his soulful rendition of the classic ‘I’ll be Home for Christmas.’ Following Buble, were Nickelodeon stars Big Time Rush, who sang ‘All I Want for Christmas is You,’ and their own holiday ballad ‘Beautiful Christmas.’ Katharine McPhee, star of the new NBC show Smash, performed ‘It’s not Christmas Without You’ and a flawless cover of Christina Aguilera’s hit ‘Beautiful.’ Musical icon Neil Diamond hit the stage to sing an original Christmas song as well as the beloved upbeat classic ‘Joy to the World.’ Four-time Grammy winner Carole King wooed the crowd with her original tune ‘It’s Christmas Everywhere’ and ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Cee Lo Green showed his softer side tonight as he belted out the classic Chrismas ballad ‘Silent Night.’ After each string of musicians, the talented Radio City Rockettes performed and the history of the Rockefeller tree, as well as interviews with the donating family and screaming viewers were plastered on the big screens. Javier Colon, first-time winner of NBC’s The Voice, appeared twice on the stage tonight to sing ‘Oh Holy Night’ and ‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,’ proving his deserved title. “The Voice completely changed my life,” said Colon after his first performance. “It doesn’t get any better than this; it’s such an electric city during Christmas. I am honored to be here.” Legend Tony Bennett came out twice this evening to sing two Christmas classics ‘Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire’ and ‘White Christmas.’ And, teen sensation Justin Bieber drove the young crowd crazy as he provided the audience with a unique rendition of ‘Little Drummer Boy,’ featuring Busta Rhymes, and ‘Merry Christmas to You,’ featuring his mentor Usher. Bieber was also featured in an entertaining and colorful music video with Mariah Carey, to cover her original classic “All I Want for Christmas is You,’ displayed on the big screens. Additional appearances were made by Donald Trump and family, Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News and stunning newcomer Megan Hilty from Smash and Wicked. Michael Buble closed the show with ‘Silver Bells,’ before the tree lit up Rockefeller Center. As viewers, who waited hours in the cold, cheerfully sang along to holiday hits, it was certain that they felt the same way Nancy Keller’s daughter Debra felt tonight— that nothing will top this experience.