The first half-hour of the first Christina Aguilera network special should do much to push the singer's debut album ever closer to sales of 10 million.
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'CHRISTINA AGUILERA: MY REFLECTION'
WHEN: It airs Sunday, Dec. 3, at 8 p.m. on ABC.
It's cute as a button. It's sexy. It frontloads all the hits. It's different enough from Aguilera's summer tour to keep it fresh (with dancers dressed like extras from a Merchant-Ivory film in a smile-inducing introduction to "What A Girl Wants"). It's soulful in the way a Whitney Houston performance is soulful. And every song is introduced the way an old-school Tony Bennett-era entertainer would have done it, with class and an air of sincerity.
Essentially, it's everything a girl (or boy) could want in an Aguilera special.
It's corny at times, but even then, it's kind of cute. While reminiscing on her singing youth in Wexford, Aguilera says she used to call her mike an "ike-a-phone" (remarkably the same thing Tina Turner used to have to call it).
If the special falters on occasion in a second half that finds her inner Tony Robbins ending a speech in the middle of "Climb Every Mountain" with "If you can dream it, you can do it" (when in fact, the opposite is nearly always true), it shouldn't matter much to fans (who may, in fact, enjoy the oversinging contest with Brian McKnight on their polysyllabic duet of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas").
And for those who haven't warmed to Aguilera, at its best, it's good enough to make you reconsider, from a steamy "Genie in a Bottle" (still her greatest hit) to an energetic performance of one of the tunes from this year's Spanish-language album.
Aguilera comes out promising "an hour of good cheer and hot music to heat up your holidays" and then delivers more than half that. Plus, it gives the folks who wouldn't pay to see her live a chance to witness Aguilera grinding her hips through a cover of "All Right Now" by Free without changing the gender. Kinky.