Back to the Article|
by TV News Desk
Legendary performer Diana Ross, Smash star Megan Hilty, chart-topping recording star Demi Lovato, The Voice favorite Chris Mann and American Idol winner Scotty McCreery are set to ring in the holiday season as they come together in the nation's capital for TNT's annual CHRISTMAS IN WASHINGTON special. In addition, the concert will close with a special performance by "Gangnam Style" sensation PSY.
Hosted for the second year by Conan O'Brien, star of TBS's late-night series CONAN, the star-studded concert will premiere Friday, Dec. 21, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT), exclusively on TNT.
Celebrating its 31st anniversary this year, Christmas in Washington is a holiday tradition benefiting the Children's National Medical Center. The concert is attended each year by the President and First Lady, as well as many other Washington VIPs. This will mark TNT's 14th year presenting Christmas in Washington. Christmas in Washington is set to be taped at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, Dec. 9.
Diana Ross' famed and remarkable career, spanning four decades, has resulted in major awards and accolades and music history milestones. She is a consummate performer, as well as one of the most iconic female singers of all time and one of the most prominent women in popular music history and in the pop culture of the 20th century. Diana Ross' international achievements were acknowledged by the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors in 2007. The honor celebrated her lustrous career of excellence in music, film, television and theatre, as well as her cultural influences, humanitarian work and contributions to American culture. Career milestones include induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, The Grammys Life Time Achievement Award, the Songwriter's Hall of Fame Awards, The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Hero Award, the NAACP Entertainer Award, Billboard Awards Female Entertainer of the Century and an International Lifetime Achievement nod on the World Music Awards. The icon is forever cemented in history with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Guinness Book of Records jointly awarded her with its Lifetime Achievement Award and the title of "Most Successful Female Vocalist of All Time." Ross' phenomenal music career is marked by chart and commercial successes. She has amassed a total of 18 number-one singles. In the U.S. alone, to date, she has tallied 31 Top 10 singles and 14 Top 10 albums, selling over 100 million units around the globe. Beginning in the '60s, as leader singer of the world-renowned group The Supremes, Ross achieved the unprecedented feat of 12 number-one singles in the U.S., making them the most successful American group in history and rivaled only the by The Beatles for the position of the biggest hit group of that generation.
Megan Hilty stars in NBC's musical drama Smash as the seasoned triple-threat Ivy Lynn. She was recently signed to Sony Music in a partnership between Sony Masterworks and Columbia Records. Her new album will be released in early spring 2013. Hilty was most recently seen as Lorelei Lee in the Encores! production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, for which she earned rave reviews. She provided Snow White's singing in the film Shrek the Third. Her voice has also been featured in Disney's Tinker Bell: Secret of the Wings, The Secret Life of Magic Gourd and Phineas & Ferb, as well as Glenn Martin DDS, American Dad, Tinker Bell and the Pixie Hollow Games and Robot & Monster. Hilty recently wrapped production on Summertime Entertainment's animated film Dorothy of Oz, slated for release in 2013. A native of Seattle, Hilty moved to New York City after graduating from the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University, and quickly made her Broadway debut as Glinda in Wicked. She went on to perform the role in both the national tour and in Los Angeles. After receiving critical acclaim for her portrayal of Doralee Rhodes in Broadway's 9 to 5: The Musical, Hilty was honored with nominations for Lead Actress in a Musical at the Drama Desk Awards, Outer Critics Circle Awards, the Drama League Awards and L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Awards. Hilty has previously performed with the Cincinnati Symphony and at Feinstein's in New York City. She can also be heard alongside Placido Domingo on the opera star's duet album. Hilty's television credits include guest-starring roles in The Closer, Melissa & Joey, Bones, Desperate Housewives, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Shark, Ugly Betty, Eli Stone and The Suite Life of Zach & Cody. Hilty's film credits include The Bitter Feast and the short "The Happiest Man Alive."
Demi Lovato has made quite a name for herself as a singer and actress with three studio albums, four movies, and numerous television series to her credit. The Dallas-bred 20-year-old started in show business at the age of 7 and rose quickly, becoming a bona fide star with credits like Barney & Friends and Sonny with a Chance by the time she was 15. She then cultivated a promising singing and acting career with standout roles in the Camp Rock movies and as the star of the 2009 film Princess Protection Program. In the late 2000s, while maintaining a rigorous TV and film shooting schedule, Lovato released two massively successful solo albums: Don't Forget (2008), which debuted at #2 on The Billboard 200, and Here We Go Again (2009), which bowed at #1. Her latest album, Unbroken, has spawned two platinum singles: "Skyscraper," which received an MTV VMA for Best Video with a Message, and her #1 smash hit, "Give Your Heart a Break." Lovato can also be seen alongside Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid, and Britney Spears at the judges' table for season 2 of The X Factor.
Chris Mann captured the hearts of millions while drawing the praise of multi-platinum talents such as Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green on the hit NBC television series The Voice. Following one of Mann's many electrifying performances on the show, Aguilera told him, "I feel the heavens open up when you sing." America agreed and when the series ended, Mann had not one, but two songs on the iTunes Top 10 Pop Singles Chart. He's now going worldwide with his debut album, Roads, which entered Billboard's HeatSeekers Chart at #4 and its Classical Chart at #5. It also shot to #5 on the iTunes Pop Album Chart. Roads arrives via Faircraft/Republic, a new imprint headed up by multi-platinum producer and veteran A&R exec Ron Fair, who has worked with Mary J. Blige, Black Eyed Peas, Il Volo and Christina Aguilera, to name a few. Among Roads' many highlights is Mann's cover of the Damien Rice hit "The Blower's Daughter," which features a special guest appearance by Aguilera. The album also includes Mann's stunning rendition of "My Way," re-worked specifically for Mann by legendary songwriter Paul Anka. Influenced by Pavarotti, Robbie Williams and Frank Sinatra, Mann's blend of classically trained tenor and contemporary pop vocals is a sound that's rare in music today. Said Cee Lo, "He is by far one of the most incomparable vocalists I have ever heard." Mann also recorded an exclusive holiday album for Walmart entitled Home for Christmas, which hit #1 on their Best-Selling Albums Chart and entered Billboard's Classical Crossover Chart at #12.
Scotty McCreery became American Idol's youngest male winner in 2011, as well as the show's first country male winner. Since then, the Garner, N.C., native quickly emerged as country music's most successful new artists. McCreery's first studio album, Clear As Day, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 and Top Country Albums charts, making him the youngest man in history to open at the top of the all-genre chart with a debut release. It also garnered the highest sales of any country solo album released last year, held the #1 spot on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart for six weeks and earned Platinum status in just 13 weeks. McCreery won New Artist of the Year at both the 2011 American Country Awards and the 2012 Academy of Country Music Awards. He also won the USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year for "The Trouble With Girls" at the 2012 CMT Music Awards. McCreery was ranked #1 on Billboard's list of Top New Country Artists for 2011 also earned the No. 4 spot on Billboard's 2012 List of the Top 21 Under 21. He spent most of 2012 opening for Brad Paisley's Virtual Reality Tour 2012. McCreery recently released Christmas With Scotty McCreery, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top Seasonal Albums chart and remains one of this season's top holiday albums. He continues to perform and record while pursuing an undergraduate degree at North Carolina State University.
PSY, whose real name is Jai-Sang Park, is a Korean singer, songwriter and producer known for his energetic and flamboyant performances both on stage and in his music videos. This year, he became a global phenomenon with his hit single "Gangnam Style" and its enormously popular music video, which has received more than 800 million YouTube views and currently ranks as the most viewed YouTube video of all time. Before he became an international sensation, however, PSY spent the last 10 years building his career as one of South Korea's most beloved icons. PSY attended Berklee College of Music and jokingly takes pride in being a freshman for a decade. While living on the East coast, he developed a love of hip-hop and later incorporated the urban sound into his debut album, PSY from the PSYcho World! Both his first album and his sophomore release, Cheap 2, made PSY popular and controversial among younger fans. Although he later moved away from a focus on hip-hop, the influence remains throughout his subsequent releases, including his most recent studio album PSY 6, on which "Gangnam Style" is featured. A talented and prolific songwriter, PSY has written or co-written every song he has released. He has also penned successful songs for many popular artists in Korea. Most recently, PSY was asked to write the official fight song for the South Korean national team in the 2012 London Olympics. The song, entitled "Korea," showcases PSY's Signature Sound, accented by traditional Korean instruments and melodies. He brought the modern spirit of Korean people, culture and history to life in the accompanying music video, further igniting the world's interest in PSY.
TNT has been televising Christmas in Washington since 1999. The show has earned two Emmys(R) for Outstanding Musical Direction and 13 nominations overall. Christmas in Washington is executive-produced by 16-time Emmy(R) winner George Stevens, Jr. and directed and produced by six-time Emmy(R) winner Michael Stevens for The Stevens Company. Most recently, they earned Emmys(R) for the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 Kennedy Center Honors - one of only six programs ever to win in four consecutive years, George Stevens Jr. is the forthcoming recipient of an honorary Academy Award(R) for his lifetime contribution to motion pictures.
For TNT, Ricki Rosenfeld and David Bryant serve as executives in charge of production.
TNT is television's destination for drama. Seen in 99 million households and ranking among cable's top networks, TNT is home to such original drama series as Rizzoli & Isles, Falling Skies, Dallas, Perception, Major Crimes, Franklin & Bash, Leverage, Southland and the upcoming Monday Mornings. The network also features dramatic unscripted originals like the upcoming Boston's Finest, 72 Hours and The Hero. In addition, TNT is the cable home to popular dramas like Castle, The Mentalist, Bones, Supernatural, Smallville and Law & Order; primetime specials, such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards(R); blockbuster movies; and championship sports coverage, including NASCAR, the NBA and the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship.
TNT is part of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company. Turner Broadcasting creates and programs branded news; entertainment; animation and young adult; and sports media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.