The leaves have fallen to the ground, the smell of pumpkin pie is in the air, and the turkey is in the oven. That’s right, it’s Thanksgiving morning. You know what else is upon us? The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, of course!
Now in its 88th turn, the parade, broadcast on NBC, is being anchored by The Today Show’s Matt Lauer, Al Roker, and Savannah Guthrie. Idina Menzel, Becky G, Lucy Hale, Kiss (??!!!), Nick Jonas, Meghan Trainor, and more, are set to perform. Paddington Bear, Pokemon‘s Pikachu, and the Red Power Ranger are among the new balloons to take flight this year, with Snoopy & Woodstock, Hello Kitty, and Spider-Man rounding out the returning favorites. Let’s not forget the marching bands and Broadway acts!
So, grab that pumpkin pie—breakfast of champions!—and lots and lots of coffee—you people are up for the first viewing!—and get comfortable. We have a full three hours of singing, dancing, and ballooning ahead of us. Feeling inspired? Let us know what you think of the parade in the comment section below. As for me, I’ll be back with a full reaction at the parade’s end!
UPDATE: The parade is over, but the talk is just beginning! Slept in late? Watching the parade after the fact? Get a load of EW’s “color” commentary below. We talk bests and worsts, and balloons that are sure to give us nightmares. Read on, turkeys!
9:02 a.m.: The parade opens with On the Town’s “New York, New York.” Hello, sailors. (See Gilmore Girls’ Miss Patty)
9:05 a.m.: Star pitcher Mo’ne Davis, who gained acclaim for her 70 mph fastball, and her little league team, the Taney Dragons, kick off the parade. Game over—we’re impressed.
9:11 a.m.: FIRST SNOOPY SIGHTING! I REPEAT: SNOOPY AND WOODSTOCK HAVE BEEN SPOTTED!
9:12 a.m: Al Roker says it’s 36 degrees in New York. (This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for my West Coast good fortune.) Cue the showgirls!
9:13 a.m.: Led by Tony Danza, the cast of Honeymoon in Vegas performs “When You Say Vegas.” Seriously, how cold do you think these showgirls are? Is this safe?
9:19 a.m.: Roker says there are 6,000 Macy’s employees walking the parade, and—here comes the plug—says most of them must be fans of the show Marry Me. Insert the show’s star, Ken Marino, who brought a picture of his sister at the parade dressed as a clown. That’s actually pretty sweet, but we can’t get over that transition, one that he apparently used last year.
9:20 a.m.: The cast of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder sings “I’ve Decided to Marry You.” How do they hit those notes?!
9:28 a.m.: Out of context quote of the day: “I’m holding Ronald McDonald,” Al Roker yells.
9:36 a.m.: Hey look, it’s Sting! Joined by his cast members from The Last Ship, the Police frontman heads “Show Some Respect.” It’s not that I didn’t want to hang out with Sting in a pub before—doesn’t everyone?—but I especially do now.
9:43 a.m.: Ryan Eggold tells Roker he’s spending Thanksgiving with his Blacklist co-star Diego Klattenhoff. Is he kidding? Where’s our invite?
9:45 a.m.: Last night, viewers got a little taste of what to expect from NBC’s Peter Pan Live! with The Making of Peter Pan Live! (Here’s what we learned during the special). This morning, viewers got to see: “Pirate March” and “I Won’t Grow Up.” The songs were performed, however, sans Pan (I feel jipped!). Allison Williams, who will make her debut in the famous role on December 4, was being interviewed by The Today Show team. “People love to remind me of how live it is,” Williams quipped.
9:52 a.m.: The Rockettes, seemingly dressed as presents, perform “Happy Holidays.” When they started doing their famous eye-high kicks, everyone, everywhere, asked: “Will I ever be that flexible?”
9:57 a.m.: The first marching band is on the scene! They’re good, but not quite at the level of Drumline: A New Beat (please note the sarcasm).
9:59 a.m.: After many performances, the parade has finally arrived! Hey Mo’ne. We missed you!
10:01 a.m.: The turkey float leads the way, followed by Thomas the Tank Engine, and Pilgrim Man and Pilgrim Woman (nightmare territory). Lucy Hale, standing on a Goldfish float, is the first to perform. She sings the lyrics, “The truth is I’m falling to pieces” from her song “Lie a Little Better.” Thankfully, Hale is surrounded by Goldfish, and Thanksgiving dinner is on the way—comfort food at its finest.
10:07 a.m.: Joel and Benji Madden, aka The Madden Brothers, perform “We Are Done.” The song is actually catchy, but my 15-year-old self is aching for the good ol’ Good Charlotte days. “Riot Girl,” anyone? That was my jam.
10:09 a.m.: SNOOPY AND WOODSTOCK ARE HERE FOR REAL! Fun fact: Charlie Brown’s charismatic beagle has the parade’s most appearances.
10:15 a.m.: The cast of Sesame Street sings “Growing” with the Muppets. These characters look so cute in their winter clothes. It’s adorable because they don’t need scarves! They’re puppets!
10:19 a.m.: The coolest marching band award goes to the group that performed a Daft Punk medley! Next time, might I suggest “Contact” be added to the list? Seems easy enough…(Again, sarcasm)
10:20 a.m.: Meghan Trainor sings “If Your Lips Are Moving” on the Goldie Blox float; Goldie Blox creates toys for girls to help foster an early interest in engineering. Girl power, yeah!
10:21 a.m.: First mention of the dog show! Just going to throw the Baja Men’s “Who Let The Dogs Out” out there, because, why not? What a throwback.
10:25 a.m.: Singer William Blake performs a song about giving thanks. It’s cheesy, but one lyric in particular really resonates: “It’s that time to stuff your face.” If you say so, William….
10:26 a.m.: “Send in the clowns,” Lauer says. Lauer, obviously, has not seen It, otherwise he would not be so excited. (Again, nightmare territory)
10:28 a.m.: In case you were wondering Roker’s transportation, Lauer has informed viewers that Roker got downtown by way of Mr. Peanut’s nut mobile…
10:29 a.m.: The worst lip synching award goes to American Authors for “Best Day of My Life!” Did they miss a cue at the beginning?
10:34 a.m.: Nick Jonas sings “Jealous.” Again, it’s 36 degrees, so there was no reprise of his now-famous Flaunt photo shoot.
10:38 a.m.: Paddington Bear is in the house, making his first appearance at the parade, and he’s six stories tall! Where’s Colin Firth, err, Ben Whishaw?
10:44 a.m.: British boy band The Vamps perform “Somebody to You.” Do you think it’s weird for them, being British, performing in the Thanksgiving Day Parade? The eternal question…
10:49 a.m.: Guthrie describes Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon as having an “inflated ego.” He’s a balloon! Inflated ego! Get it?!
10:53 a.m.: In the same vein of the Rockettes, following Cirque du Soleil’s fly-high acrobatics, everyone, everywhere, asked: “Will I ever be that coordinated?”
11:03 a.m.: Spider-Man is on the scene! “With great power comes great responsibility,” the balloon handlers said to themselves, their mantra for the day.
11:09 a.m.: Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. Weather will not keep these people down!
11:11 a.m.: In celebration of the band’s 40th anniversary, Kiss sings “Rock and Roll All Nite,” and ends the performance with fireworks. As they leave the stage, Roker, Guthrie, and Lauer bow to the band, yelling “We’re not worthy!” Not to be outdone, a marching band soon follows with another rock classic, “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
11:16 a.m.: Another for the nightmare territory front: the Kool-Aid man! Urban Dictionary even has Koolophophobia in its listings, describing it as, “The fear of standing too close to a wall and having the Kool-Aid Man bust through it, killing you where you stand.”
11:28 a.m.: Quvenzhane Wallis performs “It’s A Hard Knock Life” with her Annie cast members on the Build-A-Bear float. Here, the star performed. (Allison Williams, we’re looking at you.)
11:38 a.m.: As the Papa Smurf balloon went by, Guthrie pointed out that Smurfs 1 and 2 will be on Blu-ray. “Blu-ray, that’s the perfect smurf color,” Roker quipped, met by teasing from Guthrie. Gotta get those final jokes in, Roker! The parade is wrapping shortly.
11:45 a.m.: Pentatonix, who will appear in Pitch Perfect 2, perform “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Feel free to take it quite literally. He’ll be in town in 5, 4, 3…
Adele Dazeem Idina Menzel is on the scene, singing “All I Want for Christmas!” She left us hanging at the end (where was that Mariah-style high note?) but Menzel is a gem among the group.
11:57 a.m.: SANTA!
11:59 a.m.: That’s a wrap! But, before you get a jump start on that inevitable food coma, what did you think of the parade? What were your highs and lows? Balloons, floats, performances, lip synching, commentary, and more. Let us know in the comment section below! With that, enjoy the dog show, and have a very, happy Thanksgiving, turkeys!