How does one top “All I Want For Christmas Is You”? Realistically, you don’t, but if you’re Mariah Carey, and you’re about to release a new holiday classic, you call in some A-listers to help spread some Christmas cheer. Enter Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson to join Mariah on “Oh Santa!” The new song — released on Dec. 4 along with Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special on Apple TV+ — sees these three queens write a musical letter to Kris Kringle, and looking absolutely fabulous while doing so!
Mariah was center on a stage inspired by Santa’s workshop, slaying in a red-and-black strapless sequin number (with a deep-v) plunge. “Where’s Ari? Come on, girl!” the Grammy winner shouted as Ariana and Jennifer popped out behind dancing elves. “Santa! Won’t you help me out/I know you’re kinda busy with your elves right now,” the three sang in unison in the North Pole-themed music video, hoping for Mr. Claus to reunite them with a lost love. Mariah proved she’s still got it as she showed off her angelic whisper register towards the end of the song as Ari and J-Hud watched in awe!
“I’ve been really, really good this year,” Ariana urged in the fun, energetic tune that’s sure to become a holiday classic for years to come. The “Thank U, Next” singer brought back old Hollywood glamor in her gorgeous vintage velvet mini dress by Alaia inspired by Santa’s classic outfit. The 27-year-old rocked her signature high pony tail and added a matching velvet bow, Tiffany Co. necklace, and strappy silver sandal. For her part, Jennifer dazzled in a strapless green sequin dress, adding a pop up of color with a red lip. The unstoppable trio certainly looked ready for an evening with the elves in Santa’s Workshop!
— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) December 3, 2020
“Oh Santa” is just one of the songs featured on the soundtrack to Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special. Snoop Dogg, Jermaine Dupri and other musical guests lent their voice to the album, which is filled with new interpretations of holiday classics (including a new version of “Sleigh Ride.”) The special, streaming exclusively on Apple TV+, also features appearances from Tiffany Haddis, Billy Eichner, Misty Copeland, Mykal-Michelle Harris, and Mariah’s own Christmas helpers – her twins, Moroccan and Monroe.
Seeing the three of these women come together for a Christmas song makes a lot of sense. Mariah is the uncrowned queen of the season, while Ariana has recorded a pair of holiday EPS – 2013’s Christmas Kisses and 2015’s Christmas & Chill. Jennifer performed “How Great Thou Art” along with Pentatonix, sang “O Holy Night” with Kelly Clarkson on The Voice, had her own Jennifer Hudson: I’ll Be Home For Christmas special in 2009, and appeared in the 2013 Christmas movie, Black Nativity. So, Mariah couldn’t have picked two better women to join her for this song.
Mariah’s ascent to “Queen of Christmas” was a slow but steady one. “All I Want For Christmas Is You” was first released in 1994, off of Mariah’s Merry Christmas album. Because it wasn’t released as a commercial single, it was ineligible for the Billboard Hot 100 at the time, and initially peaked at No. 6 on the Hot Adult Contemporary charts. After the rules were revised, the song hit No. 29 in 2012, and from there, it was a slow climb to the top. It reached No, 9 in late 2017, and No. 3 in early 2019. Hit finally hit No. 1 on Dec. 21, 2019, making it the first Christmas track to hit the top spot since “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” did it in 1958.)
“It’s something my die-hard fans think about, and people that are really close to me are talking to me about it literally all year,” Mariah told The New York Times when discussing “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” brushing aside how the song reached No. 1 twenty-five years after its release. “But I don’t need something else to validate the existence of this song. I used to pick it apart whenever I listened to it, but at this point, I feel like I’m finally able to enjoy it. I just truly love the holidays. I know it’s corny, and I don’t care.”
Though the myth states “All I Want For Christmas” came to Mariah while she was alone in her upstate New York home, noodling on a Casio Keyboard while It’s A Wonderful Life played in the background, her former collaborator Walter Afanasieff (who owns 50% of the song’s copyright) plays the Grinch to this tale. “I sat at the piano with Mariah in the room, and I started plunking out — like I always did, on every single song we’ve ever written together — a particular chord,” he told the Times. “We just did whatever the hell we wanted, including this totally slow intro-verse that ends in the title of the song. There’s no rhyme or reason, it just worked out, even though it broke certain rules. I think that’s part of the reason it’s lived so long.”