Christmas Stars (2019 Lifetime)
Synopsis (via Lifetime)
When aspiring R&B artist Layla (Erica Durance) crosses paths with amateur songwriter Spence (J.T. Hodges), she thinks she’s found her shot at finally getting a record deal. But as the holidays approach, the fast-paced, high stakes music business threatens to change their sound and relationship – especially when the label executives begin to see Spence as the real star.
Layla and her mother own a music hall/bar called The Lighthouse. (It is horribly decorated and is even has cave ceilings and rotating lighthouse.) She used to sing but hasn’t since her father passed away. Her mother, Sandy, is an accomplished songwriter who now tends bar and is super horny. Sandy wants to set her daughter up with a handsome struggling songwriter named Spence. (Who is a good singer, I enjoyed his version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlement.”)
As Layla is closing up shop, Spence gets her to sing a little with him. He is charming, and they sound amazing together, very much like The Sweeplings. She agrees to help Spence with his nerves and performance. Tips include eye contact and breathing from his diaphragm. The tactics work, and he is becoming more popular at The Lighthouse. It is his last chance to make it because his inheritance is running out. Layla promises to get him in front of the “A&R” guys.
Spence continues to push Layla to sing on stage. He brings it up while picking out a Christmas tree; he pushes while decorating the said tree, he pushes while he is performing his original Christmas song. The song works, Layla offers to sing some sweet harmonies with him. At the performance for the A&R guy, Layla joins Spence on stage. The song goes so well that the A&R guy is intrigued and wants to hear more.
To practice, they sing outside of the subway in New York City. Then they sing on a fire escape. I would tell you about the performance, but I’m so distracted by Erica Durance’s red coat. (It has buttons where her nipples would go.) The crowd took a video, and it goes viral. The record executives are impressed with their sound but want to change their images completely. (Well, only Layla’s because the record industry is sexist.)
The couple is excited about the opportunity and grows closer. They even dance in a diner, much to the delight of the staff. They walk around the city and talk about who he wrote the song about. It turns out not to be a sad story, but he basically got catfished?
At a Christmas event, Spence and Layla are asked to sing “Silent Night.” It is the song that she forgot the words to during a performance and tanked her career. Spence performs without her and spins it to be a creative choice. The crowd sees through it and thinks Layla is going to bring Spence down. The record label is also wary of Layla. They make a non-negotiable deal to create a band name incase Layla gets cold feet again. All the attention on her messes with her mind, and she quits singing again.
To win her back, Spence writes the bridge to his song and asks to record it for Layla. She is his star, and he loves her. As he is recording with another woman singing the backing vocals, Layla comes in and is hurt to see he has replaced her. Spence tries to explain, but she won’t hear it. (Until she hears the bridge.)
Without Layla, Spence turns down the record deal and heads back to Texas. Layla makes a grand gesture and performs “Silent Night” and “All I’ve Ever Wanted.” It works; they sing the damn song together for maybe the 4th time in its entirety. The kiss afterward, and he dips her. They apologize to one another and sign to a digital label. Horray?
Decidedly NOT R&B, as the synopsis suggests. Very much country.
Minority Report: Nate, Record executives,
🎄🎄🎄(3 Christmas Trees)
🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷 (5 glasses of wine required)
*Photo Credit: © 2019 Lifetime