Madonna to Taylor Swift: 50 Years of Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby”

Christmas is that magical, precious time of year when many of us will make up for months of missed calls home by buying totally useless crap for the people we love. Yes, Christmas is magical. Our pop stars think so, too. In the spirit of giving, they will take time-honored Christmas classics and then cover them in a last-minute seasonal cash-in. No contemporary carol has been reinvented more than late great Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby.” Today, we get to hear another desperate remake of Kitt’s jingle, this one by beleaguered Brit band Sugababes. Following covers of the tune by Madonna, Kylie, Shakira, and even Taylor Swift, it not only sounds redundant, it seals the song’s fate as the Gayest Christmas Carol Ever.

• In 1953, Eartha Kitt performed the original. And really, it was like The Big Bang all over again.

• 34 years later, Madonna, employing a sense of humor she’s long since misplaced, gave her own spin to the tune for this charity Christmas album.

• Of course, there’s also the obligatory RuPaul version, issued in 1997, which out-shined later remakes by Taylor Swift and Macy Gray.

• And in Ally McBeal, noted feminist everywoman McBeal provided her own sultry twist to the song. Which still wasn’t nearly as sultry as Miss Piggy singing it.

• Kylie Minogue’s own remake, as mimed on Top of the Pops was replete with odd squeaks:

• Last month, Shakira did her own version of the tune at the Rockefeller Center:

• Which is an excellent antidote for those who feel scandalized by the Pussycat Dolls’ filthy handling of the song.

• But really, this is all to say that the Sugababes’ own stamp on the song neither adds anything to the jingle or takes anything away. It’s a delightfully mediocre cover. Which is the fairest assessment of anyone who’s tried to tackle the tune since Kitt made it a hit more than a half-century ago.

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