NEW YORK • This time, there were no malfunctions. And there was no hot tea either, but hey, it could have been worse. It could have been last year.
Mariah Carey, wearing a white fur coat, long earrings and a gold-coloured glittery dress, braved the second-coldest New Year's Eve on record and took the stage in Times Square to close out 2017, one year after a debacle of a live television performance.
This time, her performance did not feature the backup dancers of last year. There was minimal choreography as she stayed in mostly one spot onstage during the frigid New York City night. She started a two-song set at 11.38pm with Vision Of Love, her first single, from 1990. Before her second song - Hero, from 1993 - it seemed all was not well from her point of view. She wanted her tea. She wanted it then.
"Happy New Year!" she said, addressing the crowd. "Just want to take a sip of tea if they'll let me. They told me there would be tea. Oh! It's a disaster. OK. Well, we'll just have to rough it. I'm going to be just like everybody else with no hot tea. But we're going to try and do this one for you."
Even without the tea, her performance gathered strength throughout the set without any obvious glitches - a marked improvement from last year. After the ball dropped at midnight, she was seen onstage on the ABC telecast, singing along with Frank Sinatra's New York, New York, which was blaring over speakers. Minutes later, she gave a short interview to Ryan Seacrest, host of the night's festivities for Dick Clark Productions.
"Oh, I'm feeling a lot better than last year, when I had to get my own police escort to walk away," she said, after Seacrest asked how she was feeling.
With New York City in the grip of a bitterly cold Arctic air mass, the experience was made particularly memorable this year for hundreds of thousands of people who braved the bone-chilling conditions to witness a century-old tradition.
In the waning hours of 2017, the mercury had plunged to minus 12 deg C. That made it the city's second-coldest New Year's Eve on record after 1917, when it was minus 17 deg C.
Partygoers heeded warning from the authorities and bundled up in extra layers, dancing and jogging in place to ward off the cold.
The line-up of live musical acts included Nick Jonas, Neil Diamond and Camila Cabello.
About two million people were expected in the vicinity of Times Square, the bowtie-shaped plaza formed by the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue in midtown Manhattan.
Thousands of police were on hand, some heavily armed, others undercover. The show of force was part of a beefed-up security plan that followed a spate of attacks in the city and around the world.
The police also carried out two rounds of security screening on each person who entered the Times Square security perimeter, which was the largest in history.
Carey's performance last year was an abject, Murphy's Law-level disaster. She had technical difficulties during a live performance of her 1991 hit Emotions. She stopped singing, paced the stage and told the audience to finish the lyrics for her.
This time, she personally sound-checked the performance hours in advance.
It paid off. In a made-for-television act of pop culture redemption, her performance made it to the finish line, except for the desire for hot tea. In sub-zero wind chill, who could blame her? After Hero finished, the camera went back to Seacrest.
"And that is why she is Mariah Carey," he said.
NYTIMES, GUARDIAN, REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE