Merry and bright: Sonia and David's festive new gig
SONIA Kruger is full of excitement about her first time as host of the 80th annual Carols by Candlelight on Christmas Eve.
The Today Extra host will be taking the role vacated by Lisa Wilkinson, who made front page news when she left Nine and the Today show earlier this year.
"Lisa and Karl (Stefanovic) hosted it for a few years together and then my Today Extra co-host David Campbell took over from Karl," Sonia tells The Guide.
"It feels like a passing of the baton in some ways. When it was announced that I was going to host it Lisa sent me a text. She said that it's a fantastic night and that I'll have a great time, which was so generous of her."
The beloved annual Christmas tradition originated in Melbourne in 1938 and this year marks the 80th anniversary.
Sonia isn't bothered in the least to be hosting a show in front of thousands of people, plus a couple of million watching live on TV. No pressure?
"No, it doesn't faze me at all, I've done this kind of thing for a while," she says.
"When I hosted Dancing With The Stars that was watched by about two million viewers, plus of course The Voice has a huge audience.
"You tend to forget how many are watching in a studio situation but this is going to be a bit different, as it's at the Myer Music Bowl... but truth is the people are there to have a great time, and they are all there in the spirit of Christmas."
Hosting the live event with her Today Extra co-host and singer extraordinaire David Campbell, will Sonia be tempted to pump out a couple of numbers herself?
"It's so funny you ask that, as I sing with David every day on the show during the commercial breaks. I think my voice is terrible but he says it's not. I think maybe this year I'll just do the presenting, and get that under my belt before I go off on a tangent," she says.
"Who knows, maybe we'll do a big production number in 2018. David and I have been working together for six years now, and we've been friends since he was a contestant on Dancing With The Stars.
"I just thought 'this guy is so funny, and so talented', plus because I'm so inherently lazy he took over from me in the green room which I loved. We all want to work with someone who you get along with, and have the same sense of humour. It's a great relationship."
Sonia was born in Toowoomba and at age three moved to South Brisbane with her family. Her memories of Christmas tie in with most Queenslanders.
"My memories of Christmas in one word meant the beach… if we could make it there I was happy," she says.
"To me Christmas is all about summer, the sound of cicadas, eating mangoes and prawns. Days that lasted forever, having the cricket on TV, then the tennis. Those long balmy still nights with an electrical storm in the sky…all those things take me back to what makes Christmas great."
Sonia is looking forward to what 2018 brings, after many shows didn't hit the mark this year, streaming services increased in popularity and one network was bought out by an American broadcaster, it's going to be an interesting time for TV.
"I think networks have always taken risks, because it's the nature of the industry," Sonia said.
"When you have two networks like Seven and Nine the competition is always fierce, and we are yet to see what will happen with Ten now that CBS is on board.
"It's a challenging time for TV, and it forces everybody to be more creative, to think outside the square. But it's times like this you see the emergence of breakout shows like Australian Ninja Warrior.
"If you give the viewers what they want they'll flock to it."
Carols by Candlelight airs on Sunday at 8pm on Channel 9.