The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has come and gone once again, but before getting our turkey on and spending time with loved ones, we have to talk about the performances, balloons, and more that took to the festive annual event. There were some low points — the Al Roker-isms for one, where he not-so subtly plugged NBC shows, as per every year — but here, we take a look at five highlights that shined during this year’s festivities.
Chunky knits, and other fabulous fashions
I know I’m not the only one who watches the yearly event in part to see the cold-weather styles of the celebrities who pop by to perform or to plug their latest ventures. This year, Savannah Guthrie, Eva Longoria, Jordin Sparks, and more put their best coats forward, but the real standouts were Blindspot star Jaimie Alexander’s deep red and oh-so-cozy-looking chunky knit and Roker’s brown, plaid suit and fedora to match. His outfit, in particular, screamed Thanksgiving, perhaps only rivaled by the looks of Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim?
The oddball quirks we’ve come to expect
It would not be the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade without a handful of weird, endearing quirks. This year, Matthew Morrison danced with an excitable castmate dressed in a bear costume wearing roller skates for part of a performance of Broadway’s Finding Neverland — a visual I will cherise forever. Then there was a showing by the 610 Stompers, a dance group of “ordinary men” who broke it down with their “extraordinary moves.” Here, they were dressed in workout gear, like an army of Michael Ceras in Juno (picture this, amplified by 100), and it was just so wonderfully weird.
Promising performances from new shows
The cast of The Wiz Live! (due Dec. 3 on NBC) delivered a strong and enthusiastic rendition of “A Brand New Day” (see the movie clip here). You’ll recall this time last year, we got a look at Peter Pan Live! — this sneak peek at a live NBC musical production was much more exciting by comparison, and the vocals were killer. Plus, it gave a nice look at what to expect from newcomer Shanice Williams. There was also a performance of “Teacher’s Pet” from the cast of Broadway’s School of Rock. This packed a punch of nostalgia for any fan of the film, but also demonstrated a lot of potential for the stage show. Watch out, Jack Black.
A medley of balloons, familiar and new
Like so many of you, the parade holds a place in my heart reserved for childhood nostalgia. I watched it every year as a kid, and always loved the floats and balloons, so seeing them year after year takes me back. This time, the Adventure Time balloon with Finn and Jake was my personal favorite, but Hello Kitty and Snoopy also made strong showings. (Ronald McDonald? Not so much.)
The Christmas queen returned
The parade, primarily, was about Thanksgiving. But with Christmas less than a month away, there’s always some Dec. 25 celebrations to be had. This year, Macy’s rounded off the annual event in the best way, with a performance of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey (watch the original music video here). She absolutely killed it while wearing, naturally, a red dress, a furry red coat, and a bunch of jewels. This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful, among other things, that my Black Friday shopping will be set to the tune of what is perhaps the best Christmas song ever because if we’re going to be honest, this is going to be stuck in my head for a while …
-Mid-2000’s breakout musicians resurfaced in the form of performances by Panic! At The Disco and Plain White T’s.
-The marching bands, cheerleaders, and more, because they just looked so excited and should be recognized accordingly.
What did you think of the parade? Sound off below.