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NPR Arts & Life

Jimmy Fallon And The Roots Help Restore The Charm Of Mariah Carey's Christmas Classic

You'd really think that last year's weird, distasteful Mariah Carey/Justin Bieber video-slash-Macy's-commercial that made a creepy slop out of "All I Want For Christmas Is You" would have killed that number for good.

But you'd be leaving out the Jimmy Fallon and The Roots factor.

Last night, Carey showed up on Late Night With Jimmy Fallonfor the show's latest toy-instruments performance (previous entries included a redemptive "Call Me Maybe"). Some kids joined in. The result is cheap, easy, and wonderful.

I've said it before in this space, but nobody is having more fun on television than Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, and you can see it, and you can participate in it. One of my friends often talks about how your creative project can't just have a desired demographic; it has to have a mission. Jimmy Fallon has a mission, and so does his band: everybody is supposed to be happier after watching than before watching, and everybody who comes on the show is supposed to look good.

In a strange way, Jimmy Fallon has the best manners on TV; he's a gracious host in both the "TV host" sense and the "party host" sense. He started by surrendering the cool points on his own show — The Roots are cooler than Jimmy Fallon by a lot, and he'd be the first to say so — and he laughs at everybody's jokes (obviously), and everybody somehow seems approachable, fun, and charming in this setting. Even somebody whose image has been as battered as Mariah Carey's.

Of course, the number one reason to watch these videos is to see the band members nodding their heads, but you probably know that.

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