Improving on his a-bit-too-serious, a-bit-too-mannered 2004 album When You're Smiling, celebrity crooner Regis Philbin loosens up and lets more of that playful charisma through on his 2005 Christmas album. Bouncing between precious sentimentality and playful whimsy, The Regis Philbin Christmas Album is a well-built showcase for the daytime talk show host, with special guests providing the needed variety. Regis' performances on his own are sweet, but too many in a row and the man's overly mannered delivery starts to show. The album takes the television variety show way out and brings in Steve Tyrell for an all-smiles rendition of "Marshmallow World" and Donald Trump for a silly take on "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" ("the Donald" hits reindeer Blitzen with his trademark "you're fired!"). Third guest Joy Philbin is the best choice of all, with husband and wife cooing and flirting with each other on "Baby It's Cold Outside." Just like Regis, Joy is a better-than-average singer, but the album is fully aware it's a celebrity holiday souvenir and not a release to rival Johnny Mathis. Last time out he took himself way too seriously, trying to muscle in on Steve Tyrell's territory. Even with the lush, grand arrangements, he plays to his strengths on The Regis Philbin Christmas Album, indulging his crooner dream while offering a heaping helping of that frolicsome, comfortable "Reeg."
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries
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