Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2023 performances: Watch Cher, Jon Batiste, Chicago, more stars

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The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is here, and the stars are ready to celebrate.

The 97th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade returned Thursday for its annual holiday tradition, starting 30 minutes earlier on the streets of New York City and featuring fan-favorite balloons like Chase from "Paw Patrol" and SpongeBob as well as new balloons like Beagle Scout Snoopy and Po from "Kung Fu Panda."

Jon Batiste opened the parade with a rousing performance before hosts "Today" show anchors and parade hosts Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker kicked off the balloon and float festivities. The beginning of the parade teased performances from Brandy, Chicago, Pentatonix and Cher as the headlining act — plus a special surprise message from Beyoncé.

Stay tuned for details about all of the performances and celebrity appearances:

Parade performers lead the Tom Turkey float down Central Park West at the start of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023, in New York.
Parade performers lead the Tom Turkey float down Central Park West at the start of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023, in New York.

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Cher closes the Thanksgiving parade with Santa Claus, Radio City Rockettes

Cher, the headliner of the 97th annual parade, brought the holiday cheer to the annual festivities.

"We've been ready for this performance all morning long. It is finally here. What can be said about this person that hasn't already been said? She is an icon in the truest sense of the word," Kotb said as she introduced the singer. "No one does it like she does."

Cher, 77, took to the parade stage to perform "DJ Play a Christmas Song" from her new album "Christmas."

The Grammy winner rocked a shimmering silver coat which she ripped off to reveal her ensemble, including a black tie, white button-down shirt, black-and-white pants and sheer black fingerless gloves. Surrounded by dancers in red nutcracker looks and silver costumes, Cher hit some dance moves of her own and ended the performance surrounded by red hearts.

The Radio City Rockettes accomplished a historic feat, performing at the parade for the 67th time. The high-kicking dance troupe danced to "Christmas Lights," moments before Santa Claus made his entrance alongside "Abbott Elementary" star Sheryl Lee Ralph as Mrs. Claus to announce the start of the Christmas season.

Santa Claus is seen during the 97th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.
Santa Claus is seen during the 97th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.

Beyoncé shares peek at 'Renaissance' trailer

Beyoncé popped up for a special video message during the parade.

Donning a studded leather jacket and dangling silver earrings, the singer said, "Hey, it's Beyoncé wishing you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving.

"I'm so honored to share with you the first look at the 'Renaissance' film trailer," said the award-winning singer and "voice of a generation," according to Kotb.

The teaser starts with Beyoncé's daughter Rumi behind the camera, filming her multi-hyphenate mom. "Rumi, can I teach you a trick? You have to turn it (the camera) to the side. Yeah, there we go," Beyoncé says.

During the trailer, moments on stage during the Renaissance World Tour flash by, including cameos by Megan Thee Stallion and Diana Ross. "I have nothing to prove to anyone at this point," Beyoncé says in a voiceover. "We are creating our own world. This is my reward. No one can take that away from me."

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Jon Batiste kicks off Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Grammy-winning artist started the parade with a high-energy rendition of his song "Worship," surrounded by dancers.

Jon Batiste performs on NBC's "Today" at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City on Aug. 18, 2023.
Jon Batiste performs on NBC's "Today" at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City on Aug. 18, 2023.

Batiste rocked a monochromatic chartreuse ensemble for his performance look, before introducing the start of the parade: "Now's the time for us to come together for the 97th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I declare that today is a day of unity, of healing, of celebration. So come on y'all, let's have a parade!"

Chicago shares Thanksgiving 'Inspiration,' Brandy, En Vogue and Bell, Biv DeVoe bring back the '90s

Veteran band Chicago hit the Wonder Bread float for a performance of "You're the Inspiration," which marked the fourth time the hitmakers have been asked to participate in the famed kickoff of the holiday season, and they talked about the honor ahead of the parade.

"That usually isn't done," the band's Lee Loughnane told USA TODAY about Chicago's multiple appearances over the years. "The fun part is being in the parade itself and seeing thousands of people lining the streets. They have to be freezing their butts off because we are while on the float!"

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Singer Brandy shared a melodic rendition of "Someday at Christmas," just as sweet as the Brach's candy float on which she performed.

Popular '90s group En Vogue joined forces for their song "Free Your Mind" (and for their corresponding en vogue headwear) on the Kalahari Resorts float.

Bell Biv DeVoe hit a few dance moves for their hit song "Poison" performance on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles float, teasing a snippet of their new song, sampling The Sugarhill Gang's "Apache."

Enhypen, Pentatonix, Jessie James Decker, Katharine McPhee and David Foster perform

Country act Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors mounted the float for Solo Stove, which recently made waves with Snoop Dogg for a "smokeless" fire pit ad campaign, singing along to new song "Find Your People."

"You gotta find your people // The ones that make you feel alright," Holcomb sang.

Fellow country singer Alex Smith and fiddler Amanda Shaw performed his song "Bootshake" on the Louisiana float, while fans got "Tangled in Tinsel" with singer Jessie James Decker.

"Emily in Paris" actor and singer Ashley Park joined the Sesame Street float and sang alongside the iconic characters including Big Bird, Elmo and Cookie Monster. The members of a capella pop group Pentatonix sang their hit Christmas song "Mistletoe."

Married couple and singers David Foster and Katharine McPhee got in the holiday spirit with "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," while Jimmy Fallon and the Roots for their version of the Ramones' "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)."

Singer and former "American Idol" contestant Jax gave a high-octane rendition of "Are You Gonna Be My Guy" (an adjusted version of the original "Are You Gonna Be My Girl"), while K-pop group Enhypen joined the "Baby Shark" float for an energetic performance that interpolated the famously catchy theme song for the animated shark.

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Colombian singer Manuel Turizo performed his "La Bachata" on the Lego float, and "Bel-Air" star Jabari Banks sang his rendition of "We Are the Champions" on the Peacock float in honor of the upcoming Olympics.

Broadway casts of 'Shucked,' 'Back to the Future,' 'Spamalot' share musical moments, Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells highlight balloons

Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells, who reunited this year in "Gutenberg! The Musical!", infused some of their comedic chops into the morning's celebration, highlighting some of the balloons and floats throughout the parade.

The cast of the Broadway musical "& Juliet" hit the parade route for a performance of the Demi Lovato hit song "Confident," one of the many pop songs featured in the jukebox musical featuring Swedish pop songwriter Max Martin's music.

The cast of the Broadway revival of Monty Python's "Spamalot," which had its opening night a week before the parade, joined together for a toe-tapping medley of songs including "Knights of the Round Table."

Cast members from "How to Dance in Ohio," which features 12 autistic actors making their Broadway debut and is based on the award-winning HBO documentary of the same name, performed "Getting Ready for the Dance."

The "Shucked" cast, including Tony Award-winning star Alex Newell, performed their opening number "Corn" from the musical.

"Back to the Future: The Musical" and some of its Broadway cast members including Casey Likes and Roger Bart (plus the time-traveling DeLorean) brought a futuristic and nostalgic turn to their parade performance.

President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden share Thanksgiving message

Roker wished President Joe Biden a happy belated birthday before asking him for his Thanksgiving message.

"I think we have to remind ourselves how blessed we are the live in the greatest nation on the face of the earth," the president said. "Today is about coming together, giving thanks to this country we call home and thanks to all the firefighters, police officers, first responders and our troops, some are home or stationed abroad. I've never been more optimistic."

"I think it's important that we all commit to an act of kindness today, so call someone and wish them a happy Thanksgiving or do something kind," first lady Jill Biden said.

Who will perform at this year's Thanksgiving Day Parade?

Batiste and Cher will have some help with ushering in the holiday season.

Here are the other celebrities scheduled to make float appearances during the parade's broadcast:

  • Bell Biv DeVoe

  • Brandy

  • Chicago

  • En Vogue

  • Enhypen

  • David Foster and Katharine McPhee

  • Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors

  • Jessie James Decker

  • Ashley Park with "Sesame Street" Muppets

  • Pentatonix

  • Paul Russell

  • Amanda Shaw and Alex Smith

  • Manuel Turizo

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2023 performances: Cher, Brandy, more