Do you remember when a Christmas Special was a way to give back to the fans? Bob Hope, John Denver and the Muppets. Johnny Cash brought his extended family onstage and to living rooms across the country through the end of the Seventies.
Flash forward to 2010, where Detroit Public Television is producing Jessica Simpson's Christmas Special. The special is timed to coincide with the release of her new album, "Happy Christmas," her second Christmas album, out of eight total albums. This makes Christmas music a quarter of Jessica Simpson's entire music career. Gotta respect that. In fact, you'd think with all that background, Jessica would appreciate the meaning of Christmas.
But news from the Roseland Ballroom, where they shot the special last Thursday, was not-at-all festive. On the night of the show, Jessica's father and manager, Joe Simpson, axed the invited act 4Troops, a group of four Army vets whose songs feature patriotic themes, because he found their appearance too "scruffy." A source told the NY Post's Page Six, "They were in camo pants and blazers, the same outfits they wore to sing for Gen. David Petraeus on the USS Intrepid," but not good enough for Joe Simpson. "They were told they couldn't perform unless they were wearing tuxedos."
A Simpson representative made a firm denial. "The song was cut due to time. Jessica wasn't even aware. She just returned from the Persian Gulf where she performed for and met with service men and women stationed at several different locations ... The military was the source of inspiration for her entire Christmas album." Regardless, 4Troops had to travel to New York for the recording, and prepare a very early repertoire of Christmas music. It is unclear whether Joe Simpson knows that the US military does not wear tuxedos in the battlefield.
U.S. Army photo by PFC. David J. Marshall
Yesterday, 4Troops posted a note on "how disappointed they are at this turn of events" on their website, where we hope they will post their own Christmas video.
Jessica, from Christmas cash-in '04:
Follow Paul Snyder on Twitter: www.twitter.com/christm_us