O Holy Night’: Eight unforgettable performances

With so many versions of “O Holy Night” on recordings and YouTube, choosing one as the best is pretty well impossible. Never ones to shirk a challenge, we at Culture Monster have chosen eight performers we think stand out. By Marcia Adair. Full story | Lyrics

David Phelps

One of gospel music's biggest stars, David Phelps has got skills and he knows it. When most tenors give "O Holy Night" a go, they reach for a B flat or a B. Phelps gets up to a C sharp that would make the daughters of the regiment swoon.

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Rufus Wainwright

It's 2009 at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Some 6,000 people have turned out to hear Rufus and Martha Wainwright sing Christmas carols. With style, Rufus sings the grandest Christmas song of all without a microphone. (Warning: The first few minutes of the video are shaky, but it settles down.)

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Choir of King's College, Cambridge

If you find Rufus Wainwright’s version a bit overwrought, this cool as cucumber interpretation from the 2011 9 Lessons & Carols service at King's College, Cambridge, England, should do the trick. The Christmas Eve service was first sung at King's College in 1918.

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Mariah Carey

You want high notes? Just call on Mariah Carey. She noodles with ease in the first verse, gives the Hammond a look and then, just because she can, goes up two octaves instead of the usual one at the critical moment.

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Luciano Pavarotti

His French is unintelligible, the sound quality is poor and Luciano Pavarotti doesn't really appear to know the song that well. But still, as always, there is that voice. And as always, that is enough.

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Mario Lanza

In 1942, the New York Times wrote that Mario Lanza has few equals among tenors and Opera News said he would have no difficulty joining the Metropolitan Opera. Alas, Louis B. Mayer knocked first and Mario Lanza chose Hollywood. Here he is age 65, as strong as ever.

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Jackie Evancho

Here's the nation's favorite child soprano, performing at the 2010 tree lighting at the White House. Looks like Jackie Evancho gets the president's vote. Merry Christmas, Jackie fans.

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Kelly Clarkson

Wayback playback: Kelly Clarkson goes understated a capella at the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting in 2003.

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Which is your favorite?

Vote by leaving a comment below.


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