Like many of today’s performers, Michael Bublé has a strong presence on social media, counting pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram among his accounts.
But when he took to Instagram recently to solicit fan requests for songs for him to perform on his upcoming NBC special “Michael Bublé’s Christmas in Hollywood,” airing Thursday, he was a little perplexed by the first response.
“I did a video and I said, ‘All right you guys, challenge me. Ask me for songs that are a little off the Christmas radar here,’” the Vancouver, British Columbia, native recalled with a laugh. “And the very first thing that I read, the very first person wrote in and said, ‘Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”’ And my mom and dad were sitting with me and I looked and I went, ‘This is not a Christmas song. I just explained it to people. It’s a Christmas song. You know, request a Christmas song.’ And the first request was Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off.’ So I didn’t do that, obviously. Yes, they were really listening to me on social media.”
Bublé’s fifth Christmas special takes him to the land of palm trees, sunshine and show business to celebrate the holiday and perform Christmas selections with fellow Canadian singer Celine Dion, funk band Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and pop singer Tori Kelly. Additionally, there will be cameo appearances by celebrities in comedy bits, and Bublé’s trademark “unplugged” session, in which he and his band perform audience requests — often unrehearsed.
“That’s probably my favorite part of the show and my musicians’ least favorite part of the show,” he said. “And you know what the thing is? I’ll say to them all the time, ‘Boys, it’s not live. It’s not live. Hey, if you mess it up and it’s that terrible, let’s do it again.’
“But I think for me, personally, when I go and see a show, what makes it special to me are the imperfections,” he said. “It’s the fact that I’m actually seeing something that’s real and not completely canned and rehearsed. To me, it’s the imperfections that make it so much fun and so beautiful. And we kicked ass. My guys kicked ass. They were perfect.”
And as promised, at least one selection was off the beaten Christmas music path.
“We did the Chipmunks song, ‘Christmas Don’t Be Late,’ ” Bublé said. “And I looked at my boys, who are great musicians, probably not — they wouldn’t think of themselves as singers — and I said, ‘You know what we’re going to do? We’re going to sing this, the five of us and we’re just going to sing it a cappella. Let’s go.’ So it was good. It turned out good, I think.”