The Daily Cougar

Get in the holiday mood with these catchy tunes

With the essence of the holidays in the air, it’s always good idea to cuddle up next to the fireplace and listen to tunes that will get anybody into the holiday spirit. The holidays come and go, but the music never ends.

Here’s a playlist to help bring out that holiday cheer:

“Jingle Bell Rock” — This song may have come out in 1958, but this Bobby Helms hit still keeps rolling through the holiday season as a fan favorite. Who could resist a little rock and roll to bring in the holiday cheer?

“Santa Baby” — Eartha Kitt’s 1953 classic is filled with her tongue-in-cheek Christmas list which includes everything from sables, yachts and maybe even a little something from Tiffany’s.

“All I Want for Christmas Is You” — Mariah Carey’s 1994 single from her first Christmas album “Merry Christmas” has become an instant staple around the holiday season, cementing Carey’s superstardom and giving generations to come a reason to get up and dance.

“Feliz Navidad” — This song wasn’t expected to be a hit, but that didn’t stop Jose Feliciano’s bilingual smash from becoming one of the most recognizable (and downloaded) songs on the planet.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” — Lady Antebellum put their own country spin on this Christmas jingle, slowing it down and really letting the meaning of the song shine.

“Silent Night” — Sarah McLachlan brings this classic back to life with her silky vocals and smooth tempo to be just what you need to relax around the Christmas tree.

“You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” (from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”) — Your childhood is about to come back to life with a song about a certain small-hearted villain who is trying to take Christmas presents away from children.

“Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow” — Michael Buble’s piano-laced hit gives a pep to your step and is the perfect tune to do some cold weather Christmas shopping.

“Wonderful Christmas Time” — No list is complete without one of the Beatles showing up, and Paul McCartney’s holiday time hit is sure to get you in the mood for hanging out with friends and family all season long.

Get in the holiday mood with these catchy tunes” was originally posted on The Daily Cougar

Cougars set for matchup with Panthers in Armed Forces Bowl

It was announced today that the Cougars will travel to Fort Worth to take on the Pittsburgh Panthers in the 2015 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl on Jan. 2.

After falling to the Cincinnati Bearcats in the final seconds of Saturday’s season finale, the Cougars are ready to make the most of their second appearance in the Armed Forces Bowl in the past six seasons, the last of which was with Case Keenum under center.

The last time the Cougars competed in the Armed Forces Bowl was after a huge 10-3 season, exploding onto the scene with Keenum leading the nation in passing yards. Houston faced Air Force in the matchup and the Cougars were sent home with a 47-20 loss to the Falcons, who intercepted Keenum a season-high six times.

The last time the Cougars faced off with the Panthers was back in 1997, and they suffered a 35-24 loss in just the second meeting all-time between the two schools. In 1996, however, the Cougars outscored Pittsburgh 42-35.

With an even history against Pittsburgh, Houston hopes to use its emerging strengths from this season to take down a Pittsburgh team that went 6-6 in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season.

The Armed Forces Bowl will take place on Jan. 2 with kickoff currently set for 11 a.m. in Fort Worth. The Cougars aim to earn their eighth victory of the season as the game will be broadcast on ESPN.

Cougars set for matchup with Panthers in Armed Forces Bowl” was originally posted on The Daily Cougar

Radio City Rockettes bring unconventional Christmas cheer

The Radio City Rockettes delivered a captivating performance Friday night at the Hobby Center.  |  Courtesy of MSG Entertainment

The Radio City Rockettes delivered a captivating performance on Friday at the Hobby Center. | Courtesy of MSG Entertainment

The Radio City Rockettes have a history of perfection, and they stuck to that tradition during their performance in Houston on Friday at the Hobby Center.

The precision dancers maintained unbelievable poise throughout the Christmas Spectacular. The 18-member troupe wore many hats during the 90-minute performance, switching from full-body fur suits and antlers (assuming the roles of Santa’ reindeer, of course) to their iconic rendition of the Nutcracker’s “Wooden Soldiers.”

The message of the performance rang loud and clear: New York City is the best place to spend Christmas, and all who are there should realize how lucky they are. Most of the scenes with Patrick and his little brother, who is trying to convince him to believe in Santa Claus, took place in the Big Apple. Any other reference to New York City, whether in verse or dialogue was nothing but laudatory. It didn’t alienate the Houston audience, though. When you’re going to see a show that’s normally performed at Radio City Music Hall, you need to know what you’re in for.

The Rockettes’ athleticism was impressive, and Santa Claus did a pretty good job as the informal emcee of the night. A short video detailing the rich history of the Rockettes was genuinely entertaining, and it helped me appreciate the world-class grandiosity of the troupe.

While the show’s tradition of precision and perfection remains unchanged, this wasn’t the same Christmas Spectacular that was showing back in the early 2000s. The Rockettes have grown up a bit — if they haven’t grown up, then they’ve certainly adopted some of today’s technology that made the performance noticeably more pixelated.

Giant stuffed bears and toys were an unexpected whimsical touch, and the young ballerina who played Clara was one of the show’s biggest talents. | Courtesy of MSG Entertainment

There was a nearly 3D rendition of a bus ride through Fifth Avenue and Central Park — which, in addition to deviating from the Rockettes’ tried and true formula of maintaining a side-plot with stage characters, was one of their better ventures into uncharted waters. The human-sized teddy bears with Nicki Minaj-esque pouts and pink tutus were downright goofy, drawing positive reactions and intended laughs from the audience. The dancing panda bears, complete with Asian conical hats and kimonos added a nice touch of diversity in an otherwise whitewashed show.

Hard to overlook was the glaring lack of diversity in the troupe. Sure, there were a couple black members of the Rockettes chorus, but the signature troupe was made up of 18 blonde white women, with near identical body shapes. I won’t politicize a Christmas show that isn’t claiming to be anything more than such, and the Rockettes certainly have a history of giving back to the community. But if it was noticeable for a 22-year old white woman, it probably left an impression on any minorities in the audience.

All in all, though, the show delivered what it promised — a Christmas Spectacular that triumphs during the parts its members are most comfortable with. The gravity-defying domino collapse of the “Wooden Soldiers” elicited a roar of applause, and the “Raggedy Ann” Dolls (a new bit, though one founded in tradition) was undeniably endearing. It’s definitely worth the time and the money, and it’s an event for just about anything — family night, date night or just a night to get into the Christmas spirit.

The Rockettes will be performing at the Hobby Center through Dec. 28. Click here to purchase tickets.

Radio City Rockettes bring unconventional Christmas cheer” was originally posted on The Daily Cougar