How Mariah Carey Stole Christmas

Posted December 4, 2014 by J Matthew Cobb in Features

Someone has been a naughty girl this year: Mariah’s live performance of “Christmas” this year brings no seasons greetings

Mariah Carey isn’t a stranger to showing her weaknesses. She’s flubbed her now-classic holiday anthem, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” once before (click here), but this year’s attempt may just be the unforgivable sin.

After missing a pre-rehearsal for the New York City Rockfeller Center tree lighting ceremony, she was forced to sing her song live, rather than opting for a lip-synched performance. And that is where the problem lieth: Halfway into the song, the 44-year old Grammy-award singer underwhelms the ears of the gathering with scathing low note and decrepit vocal runs that pale in comparison to the 1994 holiday anthem .

But let us rise in her defense by saying that no artist is going to sound exactly the same a decade after a particular recording. When Carey originally recorded the track, she was at her prime and surrounded by the healthy stock of Walter Afanasieff and Tommy Motolla. Those days are pretty much over and done with. Even her hubby Nick Cannon is no longer attached to her. She’s facing dark times. Her record sales are showing it, with the most recent album (Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse) only selling only 125,000 copies in the U.S. alone to date.

This year, Carey’s now-revered Merry Christmas album reaches a major milestone by turning 20. It will go into stone as being one of the most iconic holiday albums of the contemporary era. Sadly that golden voice that the world has easily associated with those recordings seem to be limited to that medium. To hear it in person would mean the Grinch had his way.

Listen to the video of the isolated vocal track…and the televised live version (which isn’t exactly better):

And the live televised version (better to the ear):

Carey did go on Twitter to apologize for her tardiness, but avoiding talking about her Yuletide debacle.

“Last night’s situation was beyond my control. I apologize to all that showed up, you know that I would never want to disappoint you…You’ve kept me here, in your hearts, and I keep you in mine always. We are #lambily! #ThereForMe.”

For your viewing pleasure, watch last year’s jingle bell fumble at the NCT Tree Lighting in Washington, DC below:

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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