It only seems like yesterday when Sheila Watkins (Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins) was hired to officiate a marriage – she was in the middle of the Bonnie Lockhart (Judi Evans) marriage to Victor Kiriakis, before it came to a sudden halt!
Well, her priceless services are needed once again in Salem, this time by Sonny (Freddie Smith) and Leo (Greg Rikaart)!
Leo is hell-bent on getting Sonny to marry him, or else he’ll go to the press and tell all about how Sonny “killed” him and covered up the crime with Will (Chandler Massey). The scandal would put “WilSon” in a world of legal trouble, and it would cause Titan to take a major financial hit.
So, Will and Sonny will decide that Sonny should go forward with the wedding to Leo. It obviously won’t be what either of them want, but they’ll feel that they have no choice. Sonny will reluctantly plan the wedding, wishing that there was some way out of the whole mess.
Of course, they’ll need someone to officiate. Justin (Wally Kurth) refuses to do it since the wedding involves Leo, or else Sonny just won’t be able to bring himself to ask his dad to do it.
Abe (James Reynolds) will be out of the running, too, but apparently there will be one individual who will be available…Sheila!
Sheila agrees to marry Sonny and Leo. The ceremony takes place back in the Kiriakis mansion, much to Adrienne’s disappointment!
Love is in the air for Eli (Lamon Archey) and Lani (Sal Stowers). After Sheila (Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins) fans the flames of jealousy, Eli will confront Lani about her feelings for him. Sheila will imply that she had sex with Eli, which will leave Lani fuming and wondering what she really wants.
Lani ends up kissing Eli passionately, so it’s easy to see where things are headed. Accepting how she feels is the first step toward a real relationship.
Meanwhile, Abe (James Reynolds) will get some difficult updates from Valerie (Vanessa Williams). It’s doubtful she’d be bailing on their long-distance plan already, but she might cancel a flight home or a date to meet in the middle.
Abe is left to be in a terrible mood, so there’ll be even more tension than usual when Sheila arrives.
Sheila tries to do the right thing and surprises Abe with a gift – his organized paperwork – but he doesn’t take too kindly to her helping hand.
Abe eventually lashes out at her, but Sheila probably won’t sweat it. She knows how to handle Abe and anyone else she encounters in this town!
Stay tuned to find out if they will ever get along and if Valerie is ever returning to Salem!
To make absolutely sure that a song registers as Christmas music, a pop producer can follow a few basic rules. Sleigh bells on the downbeat and some scattered church bells are the obvious shortcuts; high-up strings and canned choirs certainly help. Most truly mainstream musicians are shooting for tinseled whimsy, warm fuzzies, and a picture of mittened masses tipping their hats to each other on their way to a family gathering. A few frills will get you there without too much sweat.
If this isn’t enough, an artist can always faithfully cover one of the early-to-mid-20th Century classics – “White Christmas” or “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” or anything else that Phil Spector perfected in 1963 – and have done with it. Christmas thrives on nostalgia, a reminder of a time when at least some people woke up thrilled by the prospect of presents and an eternity away from school. There’s some sense in going back in time, dusting something off, and adding a coat of fresh lacquer.
Twenty-five years ago, TLC did all of this on “Sleigh Ride.” It was, at least in theory, a cover of a well-known light orchestra standard. There was the reassuring rattle of jingle bells above the hi-hat and some background church chimes over the synths. But “Sleigh Ride” was so much more than that. It was a song warped so far beyond recognition that it became uniquely their own. It was full of frivolous jokes and messy happiness, and it did something that so many modern holiday songs have strived to do before failing so horribly – it made Christmas sound fun.
The original “Sleigh Ride,” a chirpy instrumental, was penned by Leroy Anderson in 1948 and became an immediate hit when it was released a year later. The Andrews Sisters recorded the first vocal performance of the song in 1950, using lyrics written by Mitchell Parish—the same man behind the words to jazz standards like “Stardust” and “Deep Purple.” The Ronettes’ version of the song on the practically flawless A Christmas Gift to You From Phil Spector in 1963 is the most popular, but there have been dozens of “Sleigh Ride”s over the years. It’s in the canon.
TLC took a novel approach to the song in 1993. Rather than borrowing from The Ronettes or even commissioning a remix of an older cut, they basically ignored the original altogether. They worked around an entirely new vocal hook, a beat produced by Organized Noize and co-produced by their then-manager Pebbles, and pretty much a whole new set of lyrics. The hook is so classically festive that you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was there in the 1950 version: “Let’s have a very merry Christmas / And a happy New Year / Give with love and joy and happiness / And lots of good cheer.” But Parish’s lyrics didn’t even mention Christmas. The only call-back to the original comes from T-Boz, who sings to an entirely unfamiliar melody: “Just hear those sleigh bells jing-a-ling / Ring-ting-ting-a-ling too / It’s lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you.”
(All of which might make you think that this isn’t a cover at all, and I get it. If you all but rewrite a song’s lyrics and sing those lyrics to a whole new tune over an entirely different beat, isn’t it just a new song? The answer is obviously yes, in the same way that an old broom with a new head and a new handle is just a new broom. But go back in time and tell that to LaFace Records, who listed only two songwriters on the original CD copy of the track: Anderson and Parish.)
TLC’s “version” is best appreciated alongside its video, which features T-Boz, Chilli, and Left Eye wearing baggy overalls, working through some awkward treeside encounters with boyfriends, helping the needy, and leading a half-decent dance party. “I want T-Boz to get me some headphone sets, and I want Left Eye to make me a fly dress,” Chilli says, beaming, at the top of the song. Left Eye’s verse is an open challenge to anyone who wants to hang out with her, opening with a too-cool-for-this-shit lead-in—”Uh-huh reindeer, presents, happiness… yeah right, check it out…”—and then using the “sleigh ride” as a metaphor for what I’m guessing was simply romance, because this was a PG-13 Christmas track. (The B-side to the single, “All I Want for Christmas“—no relation—is less ambiguous.)
This was just before TLC’s peak, a year beforeCrazySexyCool and years before outside pressures would make things tense, so it’s safe to assume that a lot of the trio’s chemistry was natural and unforced here. In an interview with Pitchforkearlier this year, Chilli even said that the verse was her favorite Left Eye moment: “I really love how she rapped in our Christmas song,'” she said. “I miss how silly we all used to be together. It was just how we interacted, at least when we were all liking each other at the same time—you know how sisters are!” They were gunning for airplay here (and a featured spot on the Home Alone 2 soundtrack didn’t hurt), but TLC were genuinely enjoying themselves.
“Sleigh Ride” is unquestionably of its time, but that’s its greatest asset—where most pop musicians try to tap into familiar moods and melodies at Christmas, TLC decided to sound like themselves, then threw a few bells on there. There’s more than one way to access warm holiday vibes. Sometimes you just have to rewrite the songs from scratch.
TLC finally gave us a live rendition of the hit in 2016, 23 years after it’s release, on the festive television show Taraji’s White Hot Holidays. Missy Elliott made a surprise appearance and paid homage to the late Left Eye by performing Lisa’s verse with the girls. Magic.
If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that Thanksgiving 2018 in Salem will be well remembered with Sheila Watkins in town on Days Of Our Lives!
At Doug’s Place, Julie and Doug prepare for Thanksgiving and Julie’s anxious for everything to be perfect. Sheila strolls in, introducing herself as Eli’s friend. Julie assumes she’s there to work and asks her to clean the spots off of the wine glasses and then rushes off, leaving Sheila puzzled.
Julie continues to give Sheila orders until Sheila asks for some respect. She’s the assistant to the DA. Julie had no idea. She didn’t know she turned down her job offer. They get in each other’s faces and Doug calms them down.
Eli, Abe and Val stroll into Doug’s Place and straightened things out with Sheila and Julie. Eli never told Sheila about the job offer because she had a better offer with Mayor Abe Carver. Eli apologizes for not relaying the news or telling her that Sheila was invited to dine with them.
Sheila baked Julie a sweet potato pie. Julie apologizes to Sheila and Sheila tells Abe she had his shoes cleaned but they were lost. There’s a sale tomorrow during Black Friday so they can pick up another pair. Abe fumes.
Later, dinner is served. Everyone joins hands and gives thanks for what they’re most grateful for. Doug is thankful for family, friends and Julie, then Julie says she’s thankful for Doug who keeps her young.
Sheila’s thankful she’s out of prison, “I mean the food. If a rat died…” Eli shushes her. She’s also grateful to her friend Eli. Abe’s thankful Theo survived the shooting, and for the wonderful woman sitting next to him.
Val’s grateful to have found so much happiness in Salem. Eli shares that Lani texted him and said she’s thankful for everyone’s support. Eli agrees, happy that everyone has been there for him. He loves them all. Julie cries.
They pray and eat and Val and Abe make-up. He is proud of her and they agree to try a long-distance relationship.
Sheila ends the evening insisting Eli take her home so she doesn’t have to listen to Julie and Bill singing in the kitchen any longer!