Why the best performance at the Disney Christmas Celebration filming won’t make the broadcast


What started out as a parade is now a celebration. Disney Park’s Christmas Celebration, free from its parade constraints now films over multiple days and features many recording artists and other stars. With a production this big, things don’t always go as planned.

Take today, for instance. Ariana Grande’s taping at the Christmas Celebration at the Magic Kingdom was delayed by nearly 3 hours. Disney filled in with dances and such from park performers, but after 2 hours, they started pulling people from the audience up on stage. Really.

Not all of them were great, but one young man might just put Ariana out of a job if she’s late again.

That man was Rhett Wheeler. He’s a performer from California. He’s done quite a bit of state work and has worked as a cruise entertainer. Which explains why he was so comfortable on stage. But that doesn’t necessarily account for what happened next. He absolutely killed with a rendition of “The Prayer.”

Watch the performance over on Facebook

Not only did Rhett kill it, he got to perform with the composer of “The Prayer,” David Foster. That’s a dream come true for any performer.

I asked Wheeler what it was like, “It was an honor and a dream come true to sing The Prayer with composer and legend David Foster. I mean, he wrote the song! I’ve loved his music ever since I was a little kid and it was the most incredible feeling to have him pick me out of the crowd to sing! My heart was pounding and I am still shaking, but it was the moment of a lifetime. It’s something I will treasure for the rest of my life and I’m so grateful to the amazing people who got the song on video. I’m also so thankful to Mr Foster and Walt Disney World for this unreal opportunity.”

Since the performance was uploaded to Facebook it has gone viral, as they say. It may not have been the most rehearsed or choreographed song of the day, but it was certainly one of the best. Too bad it won’t be part of the televised show.

If you have a video or photo of Rhett, he’d love for you to send them his way. Find him on Facebook and send him a message.

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4 thoughts on “Why the best performance at the Disney Christmas Celebration filming won’t make the broadcast

  1. Chloe Crabtree

    He was amazing! How do we get this young man seen by the whole country? He needs to be seen on Live with Kelly and Michael (a Disney owned show) or Ellen, or something! I understand he is currently unemployed, someone out there needs to take notice of this amazing talent!

  2. Rob Devlin

    Great article, John! Rhett’s my brother-in-law, and it’s so amazing to see him receiving so much praise that he so richly deserves. One minor correction, if you don’t mind: Rhett is from Carmel, CA, not Los Angeles. No offense to LA, but he’s our hometown boy…! Thanks again!

  3. Disney Mike

    Ugh, what an awful, awful song that is. The guy might be able to sing, but that song is sickeningly bad.

  4. Michelle P

    I watched part of David Foster’s crowd interaction during the down times on the tapings. They were amazing!! I really hope ABC caught some of that footage and decides to include it in the show. I was frustrated, though – I heard three songs being taped in front of the castle – none of which were holiday music! Why can’t the Christmas day special have holiday music and not just be an extended advertisement for the new Disney music cover album? (I understand from someone else that Reba sang a holiday song, so I do have that to look forward to.)

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