The annual Rockefeller tree-lighting ceremony took place on Wednesday night - and it was dramatically different from last year’s event.
Since 1931, a giant tree has been selected to stand in New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza. The lighting ceremony has been broadcast live around the world since 1951, and usually involves multiple musical performances.
This year’s ceremony included performances from singers like Jose Feliciano, Carrie Underwood, Harry Connick Jr, Norah Jones, Brad Paisley, Pentatonix, Mickey Guyton, and Rob Thomas, who each performed Christmas standards. The Radio City Rockettes performed their annual number just before the tree was lit at 10pm.
The tree was officially lit by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rob Speyer, CEO of Tishman Syper, the company that owns and operates Rockefeller Center.
The Twitter account for the tree defended itself against the backlash, stating that it only looked that way because of its two-day journey to New York City.
Wow, you all must look great right after a two-day drive, huh? Just wait until I get my lights on! See you on December 2! 😉
— Rockefeller Center (@Rockefeller Center)
An owl was also found trapped within its branches. Named ‘Rocky’ by rescuers, the owl was safely released back into nature.
This year, the tree is an elegant 79 feet tall and 46 feet wide Norway spruce from Elkton, Maryland. It’s 80 years old and weighs 12 tons. The tree was topped with a Swarovski Star designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, which includes 3 million Swarovski crystals on 70 triangular spikes. The star weighs around 900 pounds.
The tree will be taken down in January, and then milled into lumber and donated to Habitat for Humanity.