Extremely bad directions couldn’t keep excited TV Academy members from seeing Michael Bublé at an April 28 panel discussing his Home for the Holidays special. Even a panelist was waylaid by the 405 freeway construction which spurred the closing of the Wilshire entrance to the Wadsworth Theater parking lot and caused cars to make illegal U-turns and sudden stops trying to find their way to Bublé.
Moderated by Extra’s Terri Seymour, the panel was straight-forward with the raspy-voiced entertainment correspondent dispersing questions equally among the singer and producers of the special. That would be fine if there were one or two producers, but there were four. For those who wanted to hear more from Michael, they’d have to wait for him to sing three songs from his new album, “To Be Loved.” And indeed Bublé did rock the packed house and even offered his CD as a pre-emptive apology for not sounding his best. It was an unnecessary but welcome gesture. He sounded great.
Home for the Holidays was re-aired several times last year on NBC. With special guests Rod Stewart, Blake Shelton, and Carly Rae Jepsen, Bublé said that all the celebrities and staff wanted to take photos with the 4th guest, Elmo. Similarly, Bublé said it was bigger for him meeting Oscar the Grouch for his previous holiday special than anyone else.
Bublé opened the conversation by admitting that he was nervous because he really wanted the audience to like him. He revealed that Christmas songs were his introduction to music with Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” being played over and over again in his house. That song also factors into the now-infamous story of how his family realized Bublé’s talent: while singing in the car, Michael’s booming voice made his mother turn around and say, “What the hell?” His family appeared in the TV special, but Bublé recalls that they had to do a retake. The camera zoomed in on Bublé’s mother who uttered her discomfort in expletive glory. “Mom,” Bublé said, “you know, the camera picks up all that.”
In shooting the music video opener for the special, the producers wanted to show off the singer’s hometown of Vancouver which chipped in money to make the special happen. They needed a hockey rink. No problem. Bublé owns one.
Most complicated was orchestrating a duet between Bublé and Bing Crosby. The effects department took 2 months adjusting Crosby’s head and Bublé’s gaze to blend Bublé into footage of Crosby’s 1971 TV special. Six people of different heights had to be digitally removed including the 6′ Robert Goulet and several children, and the green screen footage of Bublé had to be color matched to the color tone of the 70s.
After the panel, Bublé treated the audience to a few tracks from “To Be Loved” including “To Love Somebody” and “Young at Heart” which he dedicates to his grandfather whom he calls his best friend growing up.
With a free mini-concert, the only disappointment held by the audience was that Bublé didn’t keep singing more.
Bublé’s album “To Be Loved” debuted at #1. A 3rd Christmas special is in the works.