Michael Bublé carried one regret after filming his first TV Christmas special – the after-party.
“I truly felt rough this morning,” he jokes, holding up a couple of bottles of water. “I’m hanging on here.”
The genial crooner had reason to celebrate, though. “Michael Bublé’s Christmas in the City,” co-produced by Bublé and “Saturday Night Live” kingpin Lorne Michaels and filmed in the famed Studio 8H in New York’s Rockefeller Center, debuts on NBC at 10 p.m. ET Monday . The special begins streaming on Peacock starting Tuesday.
A mélange of holiday songs and comedy sketches will be presented by a guest lineup of Camila Cabello, Jimmy Fallon, Leon Bridges, Kermit the Frog, “Ted Lasso” star Hannah Waddingham and a 48-piece orchestra.
As the whiz behind 2011’s “Christmas” album, which has sold more than 16 million copies, Bublé could have earned a master’s degree in all things Christmas.
In November, a “super-deluxe” anniversary edition of “Christmas” arrived, laden with the new song “Christmas Sweater,” a duet with Rod Stewart (“Winter Wonderland”), an updated version of “Let It Snow” with the BBC Big Band Orchestra and other holiday accoutrements.
He’s also planning a new album for spring.
But first, Bublé, 46, will delve into his favorite season with his family: wife Luisana Lopilato and children Noah, 8, Elias, 5, and Vida, 3.
In a chat with USA TODAY, he divulged his favorite holiday tune to sing and who he has crowned the King of Christmas.
Q: Can you believe it’s been 10 years since your “Christmas” album came out?
Michael Bublé: No, I can’t. It’s been the privilege of a lifetime to be invited into the homes of people all over this planet to celebrate something that means so much to them at a time of year when we are kinder and more empathetic. But there’s another part of it – it’s weird. I did an interview yesterday and this 22-year-old girl said, “I have loved you for so long,” and she pulled out a picture of me and her when she was 8 and I went, I feel so old! I still feel 18 years old. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years of (a career), and now with my babies, it’s moving even faster. How do I have an 8 year old? I was just holding him in my hands and now he’s 90 pounds and I can’t lift him up. When I was pregnant with my wife – I always like to say I was pregnant, too – I said, “Dad, what can I expect?” and he said, “Son, I can tell you the days are long and the years are short.” And I remember thinking, what the hell does that mean? And you know what? I don’t know if I’ve ever been given better advice in my life because it is the truest thing.
Q: You covered Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” on “Christmas.” She’s established herself as the Queen of Christmas, so at this point, does that make you the King?
Bublé: No, no. I think Bing Crosby is the King of Christmas. When I recorded that song, I wanted to help Mariah make more money (deadpans). She needs another few jets and a couple of new changes of gorgeous clothes and she is the queen. I am just a humble servant who loves these songs…I remember hearing Kelly Clarkson come out with a couple of (holiday) songs and I could tell right away that girl loved what she was doing. And a couple of years ago Blake Shelton and his wife (Gwen Stefani) did “You Make Me Feel Like Christmas” and it was so instant for me. I remember hearing it the first time on the radio and it was like a party. I was like, this is joy on a stick and I need to have more of it.
Q: You have a fun lineup of guests for “Christmas in the City” and a 48-piece orchestra. Did you look to any previous musical holiday specials for inspiration?
Bublé:What may not be talked enough about is, this is Lorne Michaels. He wanted to produce this show and …this is the first special ever being done like this in those studios (8H). We’re using all of his people. Those are all the writers from “SNL,” all the crew. There is a magic in that family and a greatness that comes with experience and truthfully, they just take good and turn it into great. He had a very clear vision and this great sense of empathy for what the world had been going through these past few years and he said, “Mike, we need to give people hope and love and light and goodness. Let’s not overthink it.” He said, “Who are the guests you want?”
I’ve been friends with Hannah Waddingham for 15 years and loved her and wondered why people didn’t see what I saw. And “Ted Lasso” hit and we watched her on the Emmys and I cried like a baby because they had seen what I saw in my friend and I said, “Lorne, I want her,” because she’s the spirit of what this holiday is – put good things out in the world and they come back to you. And Leon, what a beautiful kid; a soulful, spiritual musician. Jimmy Fallon is kind, funny, sweet, self-deprecating – very Canadian for not being Canadian. And my hero, my idol, the frog I always wanted to be – Kermit. Him and I hit it off. I’m telling you now, I see road movies in the future. And for me and my family living in a Latin-Canadian household, we’re big fans of Camila and my kids are always in the back seat (starts singing “Senorita”). She’s such a cutie pie.
Q: What is your favorite Christmas song to perform?
Bublé:Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song” (begins to sing/recite it). That is literally my favorite. One day, if I ever do a special again, that is my dream get – Adam. Man, oh man, that would be the thing.
Q: How will you and your family spend the holidays, aside from the dance party you talk about throwing every year?
Bublé:My wife’s whole family comes to Vancouver and most don’t speak a word of English – they say “spoon” and “I love you.” “Feliz Navidad” is played 48 times every few hours and my kids love it. But really it’s just a loud, over-the-top, eating too much, drinking too much, loving too much, kids getting smashed by their grandparents (occasion). And I can’t wait.