​​The Smashing Pumpkins show up on Disney’s ‘Magical Holiday Celebration’ and viewers are flabbergasted

Halloween — and even pumpkin season in general — may have passed, but rock band the Smashing Pumpkins was still top of mind Sunday night after they appeared on The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration to perform a classic Christmas song.

The long-running band appeared alongside musical acts like Michael Bolton, Tori Kelly, Robin Thicke, DJ Khaled, Mickey Guyton, Chris Janson, Iam Tongi and others for the two-hour special, which was hosted by siblings Derek and Julianne Hough. It featured an array of holiday music and other Disney-centric segments related to its theme parks and movies.

But many viewers were caught off guard by seeing the Pumpkins, considering the group is more known for rising to icon status within alternative music in the 1990s and less for performing Christmas songs in front of Disney’s Magic Castle.

So here’s a look at the holiday road that led the Smashing Pumpkins to be a trending topic on social media, and what viewers had to say about it.

The smashing performance

The Pumpkins performed the classic Bing Crosby tune “Silver Bells” for the special, with frontman Billy Corgan leading the way on his trademark star-stamped acoustic guitar. And while it is rare to see the band perform a Christmas song, they did once record an original song called “Christmastime” for the 1997 compilation, A Very Special Christmas 3.

In an interview with ABC’s On the Red Carpet, Corgan said “Silver Bells” is one of his favorite Christmas songs, and that they also performed an unreleased Pumpkins Christmas song that he “wrote a few years ago” called “Evergreen” for the special, but that didn’t make it to air.

From MTV to Disney: a Pumpkins journey

The band rose to iconic status in the 1990s with notable hit-heavy albums like Gish, Siamese Dream and Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness. They have continued to make music and tour consistently since then with seven VMAs, two Grammy Awards and over 30 million albums sold to their credit.

And while it seemed odd to many — more on that in a minute — for this band from an era of rebellion and angst to be performing on a Disney special, it was an easy call for Corgan to make because of his love of Disney.

The Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan. (ABC)

To reference the world of professional wrestling that he also works in, Corgan called himself a “Disney mark” because he’s such a fan and has been collecting Disneyland items that date as far back as the park’s opening in 1955.

The rock star and frequent Disneyland attendee also went viral back in 2015 for a picture of him riding a roller coaster there while looking rather unpleasant. He was annoyed at the virality of it at first but ended up having some fun with it a few years later.

Viewer reactions

Whether it was the fans or just those familiar with the band’s work, seeing their performance on network TV came as a pleasant surprise — or at least an unexpected occurrence — to a lot of people reacting on social media.

The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration aired on ABC, and is available to stream on Hulu and Disney+.

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