Taraji P. Henson returns to host her third Fox Christmas special, “Taraji’s White Hot Holidays.” — Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP
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With the yuletide season now in full effect, Fox presents a full night of holiday programming, beginning with “Showtime at the Apollo Christmas,” airing Thursday at 8 p.m.
Hosted by Steve Harvey, the celebration will feature some of the nation’s top musical acts offering renditions of their favorite Christmas songs, including performances by Snoop Dogg & Boyz II Men, Fifth Harmony and DMX. Along with the well-known acts, the hourlong special will showcase the Apollo’s legendary, long-running live “amateur” competition, which provides a platform for up-and-coming artists to perform in front of “the toughest audience in the world.”
Immediately following at 9 p.m., Golden Globe winner Taraji P. Henson, co-star of the hit Fox drama “Empire” opposite fellow Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard, returns to host her annual Christmas special, “Taraji’s White Hot Holidays.”
The dazzling one-hour music and variety special will feature renditions of holiday classics performed by artists including Chaka Khan, Ciara, Faith Evans, Fergie, Salt-N-Pepa, Jay Pharoah, DJ Khaled, Mehod Man, Tituss Burgess, Niecy Nash, Ying Yang Twins and Tony/Grammy Award winner, Leslie Odom Jr. of “Hamilton” fame, among other surprise guests and performances.
“What I love most about doing the ‘White Hot Holiday’ special would be the comedy sketches, because a lot of people know me as this dramatic actress, so it’s a chance for me to play and have fun,” Henson said in an interview featured on the Fox website. “I just grew up watching variety shows, and I felt like there was a void on television. It’s a good time for me to have my friends come on and sing a song.”
Highlights of the show include Henson’s “Empire” castmate, Jussie Smollett, accompanied by a full marching band, delivering a high-energy interpretation of “Little Drummer Boy,” as well as the suave and sensuous trio of Taye Diggs, Tyrese and Ne-Yo performing the lighthearted Christmas classic, “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.”
“This year’s show is going to be star-filled!” said Henson. “We have Madea, she’s going to come and play, TLC, Pharrell … The list goes on and on! I’m just excited, and I feel so honored that people are coming to play with me!”
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