Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You: Our Definitive Ranking Of 10 Covers You Have To Hear

Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Michael Bublé have all dared to cover Mariah's festive classic.
Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey

While Mariah Carey’s unmistakeable original of All I Want For Christmas Is You is the rendition everyone knows and loves, it turns out a fair few stars have put their unique spin on it since its release – including several A-list performers.

In 2021, Mariah is celebrating 27 years of (royalties for) All I Want For Christmas Is You and to mark the occasion, we’ve rounded up some of the most notable covers of the Yuletide hit, plus our verdict on how they all measure up to the original...

10. Michael Bublé

Aside from Michael Bublé’s ride or die fans (and there are a lot of them out there), we can’t really imagine anyone we’d recommend this to.

Michael’s version strips away all the energy and pretty much all of the festivities that are synonymous with Mariah’s, making it sound more like a piano-led X Factor winner’s single than a festive toe-tapper. And considering all that he can do with his voice, his vocals are surprisingly restrained… which is hardly what you want out of a Mariah Carey track, is it?

9. Mumford And Sons with Kylie Minogue

We were surprised to have never heard about this version, but that’s because they only performed a snippet of it on a TFI Friday Christmas special a couple of years ago.

We’ll be honest, we’re not exactly crying out for a full-length version of this cover, which very much plays to Mumford And Sons’ signature sound, but we do have to give props to Kylie for hitting that high note at the end – impressive stuff from an artist whose vocal abilities can often be unfairly overlooked.

But please, Kylie, no more banjos.

8. She & Him

If you’re not familiar with She & Him, they’re a musical duo made up of M. Ward and actress Zooey Deschanel. And that alone should let you know what you’re in for with this cover.

There are pretty much no surprises here (save for an unexpected sax solo that puts us in mind of Shakin’ Stevens’ own festive hit). It’s a stripped-back version led by Zooey’s typically aloof and quirky vocals, which are laid over strumming guitars and hand claps. You can literally see the quirky Christmas rom-com playing in your head while you listen to this.

It’s inoffensive enough, though, but Zooey Deschanel turns the Zooey Deschanel up to 100 on this one, so if that doesn’t sound like your thing, maybe skip this one.

7. Miley Cyrus

We should say that this live cover was recorded at Disneyland in 2007 when then-15-year-old Miley Cyrus was very much still riding the Hannah Montana wave, so it’s understandable that this very-much-Disney-fied version would be a little on the cheesy side.

There are a few country twangs thrown in, befitting of her Hannah Montana persona, but otherwise this is pretty much a by-the-numbers cover. We’d actually be pretty intrigued to hear what Miley could do with this song in 2019...

6. Chase Holfelder

Mariah Carey once said she thinks that while All I Want For Christmas Is You is a joyful-sounding Christmas ditty, its lyrics are actually pretty sad, which is an idea that Chase Holfelder definitely leaned into with this cover.

Chase made a name for himself on YouTube with his unique version of songs like Girls Just Want To Have Fun, Every Breath You Take and Amazing Grace, which completely transform the sound of a song by redoing them in a minor key.

The results of doing this to All I Want For Christmas Is You are actually pretty sinister, particularly as he’s stripped away the festive instrumentation and replaced it with intense piano chords. He’s also swapped a few of the more cheerful lyrics - “none of the lights are shining so brightly anywhere, and the sound of children’s crying fills the air” - being one such example.

It’s not going to be to everyone’s tastes, but we take our hat off to Chase for totally reimagining a song we’ve heard thousands of times.

5. Fifth Harmony

During their time in the spotlight, Fifth Harmony made no secret of how much they were inspired by Mariah Carey, so it’s fitting that they’d have recorded their own version of the famous diva’s Christmas classic.

The song opens with an acapella section that allows all of the girls to show off their vocal abilities, but from there it’s a pretty straight-forward cover. Nice enough if you’re a Fifth Harmony fan, of course, but for everyone else there’s no real reason to play this over the original, which is a shame as that opening section promises a lot.

Can we also touch on the disparity of the presents the band members get in the accompanying music video? Three of them fighting over a teacup while Ally gets a brand new phone? Shocking.

4. PJ Morton

We won’t pretend we’re especially familiar with the work of two-time Grammy nominee PJ Morton, but what we can tell you is that his cover of All I Want For Christmas Is You is definitely worth a line.

His version – a collaboration with fellow R&B singer Stokley – reinvents the tune as a slow-jam, complete with a horn section, some 90s keyboards and a laid-back vocal delivery.

It’s definitely a fresh sound for All I Want For Christmas Is You, but it’s not so different you can’t sing along with it.

3. My Chemical Romance

As you might expect, the emo rock group switch out the 1960s-inspired instrumentation of the original for the pop punk sound that made them so popular in the 2000s.

It starts off, as do most versions of the track, with a gentle piano instrumental, but frontman Gerard Way’s delivery still hints at what’s to come, which is… a lot of electric guitars and heavy drums.

We have to hand it to them, though, this cover is a lot less of a racket than you might expect. If rock music isn’t your thing then you probably want to give this one a wide berth, but for anyone else, we’d actually recommend this unique way of reimagining a Christmas classic in a totally different style, without feeling like it’s sneering or looking down on the original.

2. Ariana Grande

This live performance took place in 2012, a year before Ariana released her debut album Yours Truly and two years before she would top the UK singles chart with Problem (which was also the first track to reach number one based on streaming sales, fact fans).

Even though physically she’s still in the early stages of the Ariana who would go on to become one of the most famous pop stars in the world, she’s very much the Ariana we know and love when she speaks to the audience.

And there’s no arguing with those vocals, is there?

Ariana has been compared to Mariah Carey throughout her career, so it’s no surprise that she’s able to do one of her most iconic tracks justice, although our one complaint is that – vocals aside, obviously – there’s not much to differentiate this version from the original.

Years later, Ariana would go on to release her own collection of Christmas music, which we definitely recommend checking out next time you’re looking to spruce up your festive playlist.

1. Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber

Let’s be honest, though, who can do Mariah better than Mariah?

On this 2011 re-recording – dubbed the “Superfestive!” remix – released long before The Biebs would be dominating headlines for his less-than-cherubic behaviour, he and Mariah swap lines on an arrangement that’s more or less identical to the original, with a few extra ad libs and harmonies thrown in.

Considering the whole thing is essentially a cash-in, it’s still an effective cover, guaranteed to bring at least a hint of a festive smirk to even the most miserable of Scrooges.

And after all that, let’s hear how it’s supposed to sound, shall we?

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