Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade proved to be a deflating experience for many Americans this year, with thousands taking to social media to bash the 94th annual event.
The iconic parade, usually watched in person by hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers lining the streets of Manhattan and by Americans nationwide on their television screens, was this year limited to a TV-only event to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Executive producer of the parade, Susan Tarcero, said, in light of the pandemic, that it was ‘more important than ever to have something for everybody at home to tune into’, but any efforts to lift the nation’s spirits appeared to have been made in vain.
Almost as soon as the broadcast began at 9am on NBC this morning, aggrieved viewers began roasting the event on Twitter, admonishing lip-syncing performers, criticizing balloon selections, and blasting the Rockettes for forgoing their legendary kick line.
‘The broadcast is absolute garbage,’ wrote an unimpressed Brian Lickert. ‘I guess it’s to be expected in 2020.’
Macy’s was also criticized for referring to the historically black sorority Zeta Phi Beta, who performed at the event, as a ‘diverse dance group’ in a tweet that was quickly deleted. Critics lamented the department store chain for its ‘reductive description’ of the group.
Floats that are part of the modified Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are seen from the Empire State Building
Macy’s was also criticized for referring to the historically black sorority steppers Zeta Phi Beta as a ‘diverse dance group’ in a tweet that was quickly deleted
A gloomy New York City on Thanksgiving morning as the parade began at 9am
Performers awaited minus the excited crowds as the TV-only event began on Thursday morning
The usually crowded Manhattan streets were abandoned on a rainy Thanksgiving morning
Empty Manhattan streets where hundreds of thousands would normally gather for the event
This year’s parade was taped over the course of three days in an attempt to keep people at home as a result of rising coronavirus cases.
In a normal year, the celebration takes between 8,000 and 10,000 people – from marching bands to float handlers to dancers – to stage the parade, which runs from West 77th Street and Central Park West to 34th Street and Broadway in Manhattan.
But this year just 960 performers and staffers were involved in the parade, a reduction of 86 percent.
As well as no in-person viewing, the parade route was also slashed from its usual 2.5-mile route to just a one-block area encompassing West 34th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.
The substantial changes to the event appeared to irk swaths of viewers, who made clear they weren’t happy with a number of the coronavirus preventions, saying it was scary to see the performers in masks.
‘These performers waving on these floats as if they have a physical audience is why I have trust issues. Who are you waving to?’ wrote user @DiddyCoombs.
‘Fun Fact: it took an 88% decrease in workforce for Macy’s Parade to find a place for indigenous Americans at the parade,’ one person joked after a Native American group started off the show.
Several viewers were unhappy with the background music that covered the lack of cheering from the crowd, deeming it ‘canned cheap Xmas background music’ while one person said ‘I could honestly do without the performances in front of Macy’s’.
‘I am so curious to know how the pitch went to hold an actual parade with no spectators,’ questioned a user named Rudy.
Even more were unhappy with the editing of the recorded segments.
‘Why is @nbc cutting off the great Darlene Love??!! And so very disappointed that they cut off the Native American’s most beautiful presentation! So disturbing that some idiot made a decision like that!’ one person wrote on social media.
‘NBC cut off CNCO, Karol G, Keke Palmer, and Darlene Love but show the entirety of that meh ‘Mean Girls – the Musical (aka Karens)’ number for fear of 1 mil calls to the Manager,’ read one complaint.
‘First hour of the NBC live feed is unwatchable chopped up Broadway songs, second hour they edit out all the good stuff, shame,’ said another.
‘I agree @NBC is making poor editing decisions. Just plan out the performances better ahead of time,’ wrote user Sue Kerr.
When it came to the acts, a performance from the cast of the Broadway musical ‘Jagged Little Pill’ – which is based on the 1995 Alanis Morissette album of the same name – failed to struck a chord with viewers.
‘I have a lot of thoughts about Jagged Little Pill. None of them are good,’ wrote one user.
‘I don’t know who needs to hear this, but the “Jagged Pill Musical” is like adding raisins to potato salad or not seasoning your chicken,’ added another.
The a capella group Pentatonix also received equally unfavourable reviews.
‘The only thing that unites the internet every holiday season is the mutual hate for Pentatonix,’ a user joked.
The third day of filming the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade kicked off at 9am Thursday
The cast of Hamilton perform at the 2020 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday morning
Conductor leads the NYPD Police Band as they line up to march at the 94th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
A balloon depicting Red Titan, a character from ‘Ryan’s World’, is seen ahead of the 94th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Santa’s sleigh will still finish up the parade, as is tradition, despite the lack of spectators
The parade featured several CGI floats that viewers deemed ‘terrifying’
Police officers block of access to Herald Square as the floats and balloons set up on Thursday morning
Quiet streets surrounded the filming as people were prevented from gathering to watch
Most of the performances were filmed right in front of Macy’s flagship NYC store
The number of handlers for the floats and balloons have been cut down this yea due to coronavirus concerns
This year just 960 performers and staffers are involved in the parade, a reduction of 86 percent
All performers and participants in this year’s parade are required to wear masks, as pictured Thursday morning
A large number of spectators were also confused over the appearance of a polka-dot clown balloon designed by female artist Yayoi Kusama, which was grounded during last year’s parade due to high winds
Lip-syncing was also a source of much ire, with one person writing: ‘Not sure the lip sync could get any worse‼️ But alas …. it’s a nice diversion on a very lonely day.’
‘Few things in life make me more uncomfortable than watching the overly-enthusiastic lip sync performances during the #MacysThanksgivingDayParade’
The legendary Rockettes, a staple of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, also appeared to fail in their efforts to lift the nation’s spirits.
‘Leave it to the 2020 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to have the world famous kicking line of the @Rockettes, not kick during their performance,’ one critic said. ‘The year that keeps ruining everything. Hysterical.’
The group were reportedly forced to omit its famous kick line from this year’s choreography to adhere to social distancing measures.
‘As soon as I saw them dressed as toy soldiers, I knew no kick was coming,’ wrote a user. ‘Just a bummer.’
A large number of spectators were also confused over the appearance of a polka-dot clown balloon designed by female artist Yayoi Kusama, which was grounded during last year’s parade due to high winds.
Kusama is the first woman ever to have designed a balloon for the event, which became an additional point of outrage.
‘I have No Idea why it took them this long to have their first female artist designed balloon, but at least it’s here,’ wrote Twitter user @MattyHorror.
‘This is the 94th Macy’s thanksgiving day parade and they have their FIRST ever female designed balloon???? good god,’ another person added.
The legendary Rockettes, a staple of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, also appeared to fail in their efforts to lift the nation’s spirits
Performers prepare at the 94th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade despite the rainy weather
The West Point Band prepares to perform on Thursday morning
In a normal year, the celebration takes between 8,000 and 10,000 people but it was cut down to 960
Ally Brooke performs on the Blue’s Clues & You! float during Thursday’s filming
Al Roker and Butter Man at the 94th parade after they became a viral moment in previous parades
Macy’s also came under fire for their own social media commentary for its ‘reductive description’ of Zeta Phi Beta, after referring to the historically black sorority as a ‘diverse dance group.’
‘What’s that sound, you ask? Why it’s the diverse dance group, Zeta Phi Beta Steppers!’ Macy’s wrote in a tweet that appears to have since been deleted. ‘Performing a special routine they put together to help us celebrate this unprecedented year.’
MSNBC Joy Reid responded, ‘Um… hey @Macys that’s not a “dance group.” Zeta Phi Beta is a Black sorority founded at Howard U in 1920 and part of the Divine Nine.’
The Divine Nine is an organization of Black sororities and fraternities, including Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, that compose the National Pan-Hellenic Council.
Other critics also waded in to blast Macy’s for its ‘reductive’ comments.
‘zeta phi beta sorority, inc. is an international black greek-lettered sorority founded in 1920 that prides itself on being a servant leader in the community,’ one wrote. ‘”diverse dance group” is a reductive description — y’all missing the bigger picture here.’
‘Zeta Phi Beta Steppers are not a “diverse dance group,”’ tweeted @Boeing74. ‘They are a 100 yr old sorority that has focused on social causes. Stepping is a tradition that dates back to the 1900s when slaves used this form of dance as way to communicate.’
This year, the parade will premiere a 48-foot-tall version of The Boss Baby, the character from the 2017 film by the same name
The launch of the 94th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade as the ribbon was cut
The cast of Jagged Little Pill appeared at this year’s event, though their failed to struck a chord with viewers
The scene was gloomy and rainy as the 94th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade began
Bands performed from several of the other large parades of the year that were canceled due to the pandemic
View of Macy’s balloon at the 94th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 26
The fan favorite balloon of SpongeBob returned to the 2020 parade
In a normal year, the celebration takes between 8,000 and 10,000 people – from marching bands to float handlers to dancers – to stage the parade, which runs from West 77th Street and Central Park West to 34th Street and Broadway in Manhattan
Others accused Macy’s decision to include to group in the parade as ‘performative’.
‘I’m tired of businesses using Black entities (including Historically Black Sororities and Fraternities) as a means to look more “diverse” and accepting,’ tweeted @_AwesomeKid. ‘It’s clear how performative this attempt was, due to your lack of research for your own parade performers.’
As a result of the backlash, Macy’s penned another tweet with a proper description of the group, without referencing their earlier faux pas.
‘Look who just STEPPED things up. We loved having @ZPHIBHQ — an international, historically Black Sorority —with us at the #MacysParade for their centennial,’ the company tweeted.
The Divine Nine is an organization of Black sororities and fraternities, including Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, that compose the National Pan-Hellenic Council
Snoopy was among the balloons that was kept in the restructured 2020 parade
There were just 18 instead of 26 parade floats as the event was cut down due to coronavirus restrictions