Madonna, Streisand, Garland, & More: Who Sang It Better?

With Thanksgiving and Black Friday over, the holiday season is officially upon us, which means you are free to blast your favorite Christmas music without judgment.

The holiday album is a time-honored tradition on par with the yule log, and there is no shortage of celebrities — of yore and today — who have serenaded us with their best songs of the season.

Our favorite divas especially shine when it comes to singing a holiday tune, but with so many renditions of the same song, it begs the question: Who sang it better?

Scroll down to see some of our favorite divas singing Christmas classics. Which star do you think shines brightest?

Madonna versus Eartha Kitt: “Santa Baby”

We absolutely love this silly, sultry tune. Almost as much as we love fantasizing about our own “Santa Baby” showering us with expensive trinkets. Eartha Kitt made this song famous in her initial 1953 recording, and Madonna channeled her best Marilyn Monroe in her 1987 uptempo remake. So tell us: Catwoman or the Material Girl?

Judy Garland versus Christina Aguilera: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

Few Christmas songs elicit as much emotion as this song originally recorded in 1944 by the great Judy Garland for the film Meet Me in St. Louis. Christina put her pipes to work in her 2011 version at Disneyland. So tell us: Original or Cover?


Celine Dion versus Mariah Carey: “O Holy Night”

Singing this Christmas power ballad is the true test of a diva. While many have tried (and some failed miserably), these two versions stand out from the pack. Picking a favorite would be like asking us to choose between our pet dogs. So tell us: who do you think sang it better?

Barbra Streisand versus Toni Braxton: “The Christmas Song”

This song (sometimes called “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”) epitomizes holiday music. Every time we hear it, we can’t help but imagine being curled up next to our boy toy by the fire in our warmest flannel and sipping hot cocoa. Barbra Streisand sang the song in 1967 on her A Christmas AlbumToni Braxton revived it on her 2001 holiday album Snowflakes. So tell us: Babs or Braxton?


Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #entertainment #barbrastreisand #celinedion stories and more


  • rjrogo


  • avesraggiana

    All of today’s singers are to be faulted for over-singing their renditions, with their wailing, pop-quavering, sometimes-screechy voices. Legacy of the trends in pop and RB singing of the last two decades, and encouraged with impunity by Star Search and American Idol.

  • avesraggiana

    Kitt, Garland and Streisand definitely.

  • Sweet Boy

    Celine…pure schmaltz
    Madonna…sounds like a cat in mating season

    Nothing like Stevie Nicks singing Holy Night…she sounds as though she were drunk after spending the entire night drinking punch and opening presents

  • Jonty Coppersmith

    I love all these ladies, but sometimes simpler is more beautiful. Don’t jazz up an old standard. Christina girl you need to learn modulation, use the power of your voice judiciously, not constantly because that gets tedious.
    In all these cases I have to agree with rjrogo.

  • jimbryant

    Barbra Streisand, Donna Summer, Judy Garland, Celine Dion, Eartha Kitt…these are the women who put SOUL into their music. Madonna has no soul.

  • Metro135

    Streisand vs Toni Braxton? Are you serious? If Streisand were in a coma she could still out sing Braxton.

  • Metro135

    How anyone can stand listening to Mariah Carey is beyond my comprehension. If she didn’t have that choir behind her my eardrums would have burst. That screeching tea kettle blast is really getting old.

  • williyum2003

    Eartha, Judy, Celine, Barbra… no contest

  • boring


  • AuntieChrist

    You just can’t beat the true classics…Not with the modern cats in heat sound…. Eartha was able to go all the way from classic, to pop dance with Bronski Beat….Babs is like butter.

  • decampbell

    Please don’t compare Madonna to Eartha Kitt. Madonna’s out-shone and out-classed.

  • avesraggiana

    Judy Garland and that soaring voice – she breaks my heart every time.

  • deltabadhand

    “Santa Baby” Madonna and everyone else after Eartha copy Eartha’s rendition and her style on this song.

    “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. Neither. Mary J Blidge Kills them both

    “O Holy Night” Celine Dion versus Mariah Carey Both are over wrought and insincere.

    “The Christmas Song” Barbara S.

  • trelin

    Comparing Toni and Barbara doesn’t make sense. There’s a different tone in each. Toni is deep, sensual R&B and Barbara is more vocal. Both ladies can sing, but there’s a time and place for each. I prefer Toni because I adore her and I don’t think there’s another voice that’s like hers…anywhere.

  • Rockery

    @everyone who has posted thus far, I thought bath salts were out of fashion? Please stop taking it.

    Mariah Carey is the ultimate diva when it comes to Christmas and Q should shut this shoestring operation down for not putting her in the title. All I Want for Christmas is the all time reigning Christmas song. Her Oh Holy Night is riveting.

    I couldn’t care less about the rest

    *end rant*

  • Fitz

    I was so depressed when I saw this article, but so uplifted that my peers aren’t as dumb as the author. Madodo in a singing contest? X-tina with some genuine emotion that’s not hyperbolic? Marriah during her “lets get Nigrish” phase? (yes, I stole that line from Berhnart)

  • Wingfield

    At the 00:59 mark of the Christina song where she says gayyyyyy. That needs to be a meme ASAP!

  • jwrappaport

    Sorry gentlemen, Judy wins every time – even when she’s not competing.

  • avesraggiana

    @jwrappaport: Amen.

  • NoelG

    Eartha by default. Besides, Madonna’s voice seemed to have been put through a filter.

    Judy! Judy! Judy! Do a web search for the story behind the original version of the song that Judy refused to sing.

    Celine because she stayed closer to the original arrangement. I don’t like Christmas songs but if I’m going to listen to one, I prefer traditional arrangements.

    It’s not fair to compare Barbara to anyone. It’s like comparing Sinatra to another singer. You just can’t. They are on a plane of their own.

  • Cináed O'

    -Eartha made the song fun and flirty.
    -Judy kept it simple and sweet
    -Mariah made this song inspirational and uplifting
    -Barbara gave it that sentimental warm Christmas feeling
    These are my picks, and I’ll refrain from saying negative comments of their counterparts.

  • Elloreigh

    Santa Baby: Eartha Kitt, no matter who else’ version you put it up against.

    I’ll have to take a pass on the rest.

  • Elloreigh

    @avesraggiana: I couldn’t agree more – well said.

  • Goforit

    My 2 cents worth. Eartha makes it playful…..Madonna trys to hard.
    Judy plays it simple and heartfelt….Christina trying to impress.
    Celine-Mariah…. I couldn’t care less. Neither one.
    Babs and Toni? How could you even attempt to compair? There has never been a voice that even comes close to Ms. Streisand. Toni was completely out classed.

  • mada

    So happy that people went with the good versions :).

    I don’t know why Kylie’s version of “Santa Baby” wasn’t mentioned, which is at least CLOSER to Eartha Kitt’s original. Eartha still beats out ALL THE COVERS. (Yes, I made a lame pun).

  • jimbryant

    When you listen to Madonna from her early years, you can easily tell that her voice was electronically distorted to make it sound tuneful on the recorded track. When you listen to Donna Summer, Barbara Streisand etc, you know you are listening to the real thing.

  • bleachedpeach

    Eartha, Celine, Judy and Barbra! I love Ms. Braxton, but you can’t compare her to Ms. Streisand. Madonna give her a bucket.

  • Niall

    This is about “singing” though. There are very few people Madonna can out-sing let’s be honest.

  • Ms Urethra Johnson

    Celine just made me want to take my family’s vintage christmas tree out of the crate, decorate the whole house and start baking pies. Her voice is like a precisely tune priceless instrument. (Bam “in your face” perfection)
    Babs is a standard. Can’t have christmas without Babs.(Jewish irony)
    Mariah’s best Christmas song is: Miss you most at Christmas time.(Kleenex needed)
    Eartha Kitt.(song made for her voice/style)…Madonna’s is just REDUCTIVE (take that MADAME M, P.S.:the hydrengeas are on their way too)
    Xtina obviously has a voice, can’t fault her for showing it off, (she actually smirks after each high notes / runs) we all would belt out songs like that at karaoke if we only could.

  • anubis0614

    Never mess with the classics: Eartha

  • stranded

    You know gay men can also enjoy men singing. It doesn’t always have to be “divas”

    Eartha/Judy, coldplay is my 2nd favorite version/Mariah/ Neither, that song belongs to Nat King Cole

  • seaguy

    All of them did great. Love all of these diva’s especially the queen of pop Madonna!

  • newecreator

    Why did they forgot to put Kylie’s rendition of Santa Baby?

  • Bee Gaga

    @NoelG: I hate when people revel these old singers JUST for being old singers. Sinatra? Was NOT that good of a vocalist, there are tons better than him in jazz alone not to mention various other genres. As for Barbara she’s a pure vocalist, a great one, but far from incomparable

  • Bee Gaga

    Eartha, Judy, Mariah, ehhh maybe Barbra I liked both of them. Mariah’s rendition of o’holy night is THE best I’ve ever heard her’s and the one that Deborah Cox performed are incomparable.

  • Drayper


Comments are closed.