5. Christina Aguilera/Brian McKnight
Lifted from her oft-praised ‘My Kind of Christmas’ collection, Xmas saw Xtina bring her powerhouse vocals to holiday favorite ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ with the assistance of R&B vet Brian McKnight. While admittedly at times their joint melismatic cup runneth over (and over and over), the combo was still refreshing and a perfect blending of voices. In this display, one of two live showings the two shared for the holidays, Christina’s vocals shine splendidly as ever.
4. Patti Labelle
It was certainly a silent night as audience members watched in awe of the majesty that is Mama Patti‘s voice. In an acapella demonstration, Labelle sought to remind lessors how, even on holiday, she merrily shuts down the competition. The stunning arrangement, featuring the Perri Sisters (famed background singers of Anita Baker), saw Labelle ring those oft-praise vocals to the high heavens. We’re sure even Zeus gave this a thumbs up.
3. Destiny’s Child – Opera Of the Bells
Destiny’s Child‘s ‘8 Days of Christmas’ was a must-have for any DC3 fan upon his 2001 release. Not only introducing fans to new festive mixes, but also gifting listeners with their special takes on old favorites. And, unlike previous albums, the set saw each member yield yuletide solos – ‘Do You Hear What I Hear’ (Rowland), ‘O Holy Night’ (Williams), and ‘Silent Night'(Knowles). Even in all of their holiday offerings, ‘Opera of the Bells’ rings as the penultimate fan favorite – and most attempted on Youtube – of the set. Giving the girls yet another opportunity to display their stunning harmonies for a holiday showing, chime in on this great performance from Destiny’s most-loved children.
2. Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas (Live)
For a holiday already set with its fair share of favorites (rendered each year over and over), it takes a special diva to create her own set of classics that are still being blasted almost 20 years later. That diva, of course, is none other than Mariah Carey. Her song ‘All I Want For Christmas’, lifted from her ‘Merry Christmas’ album, is largely responsible for the album now being the best selling holiday LP in history (moving over a whopping 15 million units). And while the song has since been remade with it-boy Justin Bieber (and landing the songstress atop Billboard’s first ever ‘Holiday Chart’), umm…we’ll just take the original. Hit it Mariah!
1. Whitney Houston
If you hear what we hear, then your ears are blessed with the gift that is Whitney Houston. During her ‘I’m Your Baby Tonight’ era, Miss Houston took her holiday cheer to Leno to lend her take on ‘Do You Hear What I Hear’. In this stunning arrangement, the diva took ‘Hear’ to higher heights than any before her (and probably any since). A reminder of a time when this girl could sing the phone book and take it to church. Get into Houston’s holiday number below:
Boyz II Men – Silent Night
Arguably no group before them, and certainly no group after them, have taken command of stylistic harmony in the way of Boyz II Men. One of the greatest vocal groups of all time, their holiday collection quickly became a must-have as it was filled with gems ‘Let It Snow’, ‘Silent Night’, and more. A stunning reminder of their joint abilities is this stirring rendition of ‘Night’ for BET. An audience, who given the status of music over the last ten years or so, was clearly in dire need of a refresher on the power of ‘true vocalists’. Get into it below:
Mary J. Blige – Christmas Song
A welcomed departure from her usual fiery offerings, the Queen of Hip Hop Soul shone royally in this subdued showing of ‘The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)’. Putting her own spin on the holiday classic, Mary moved the Obama’s and audience in this 2009 display. Regal indeed, although it’s been sung many times, many ways…see why Mary does it best: