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Christmas “Carpool Karaoke” MVP Power Rankings

Adele, Selena Gomez, and Queen Mariah Carey face off

James Corden dropped the “Carpool Karaoke” rendition of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” on Thursday night, and if you’re reading this post properly, you’ve already watched the video. Therefore, you’ve just witnessed Chris Martin exude more joy than I ever knew he was capable of. The holiday season really does bring about miracles! It was a strong and shocking showing from Mr. Coldplay, but he is far from the highlight of this video.

There is a lot of fun to choose from. We’ve got Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato doing some coordinated dance moves, Lady Gaga taking every opportunity to remind us that she’s got great pipes, Gwen Stefani existing, and Elton John kissing the top of Corden’s head! It’s a bounty of riches. And still none of them make the MVP race for this video. Greatness personified is left to these three:

3. Selena Gomez

Selena’s own “Carpool Karaoke” was surprisingly fun. She threw back some ginger shots and went on a roller coaster. More importantly, she danced in her seat with abandon like a totally normal human. In the “All I Want” version, she sits cross-legged and jaggedly sways back and forth like anyone jamming out to his or her car stereo. She is the closest approximation to what an average person looks like when they are filled with happiness when this song comes on. Bonus points for turning directly to the camera and singing, which I assume she does with the facility of the entire Snapchat generation.

2. Adele

First of all, Adele filmed her ride along in December 2015, which means that Corden and his cohort have been sitting on this for a long time. What other songs did she record for future anthologies? Can we get the “Carpool Karaoke” Unreleased Mixtapes? Second, Adele is in every MVP race for which she qualifies by virtue of being a charming woman with unmatchable talent. Her cover of Nicki Minaj’s “Monster” verse may be the highlight of this entire video franchise. Her “All I Want for Christmas Is You” highlight is when she almost messes up by singing “Make my wish come true” a beat too early. We can now confirm that Adele is not a host. Adele nearly makes mistakes. I’m putting her over Gomez because of her Mariah imitation at the end, when she mimes the high parts while holding her ear. That’s some diva-on-diva physical comedy that there’s simply not enough of in this world.

1. Mariah Carey’s Motionless Flesh

If there could be only one Christmas song, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” would be it. Mariah Carey is a record-setting musical artist with maybe the best pop ballad of all time (“Always Be My Baby,” duh), and yet this is inarguably her biggest song, currently sustaining the most recent decade of her career though it was first released in 1994. It’s been dominating for 22 years, resonating with the olds (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and the youngs (Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato) alike. You’d expect Mariah to come with some thunder for this video, given that “Carpool Karaoke” is the biggest internet stage, but Mariah Carey’s oeuvre is not well-suited to confined spaces like cars or web browsers. And that’s why I’m glad she decided to make her motionless flesh the star instead. We’re getting a lot of Mariah’s person and her breasts here, and none of it moves! Nary a wrinkle, nary a bouncing boob. She flirts with nipple slippage, but like I said, there is no movement. This is Mariah now. The Queen of Christmas, she who is perfectly manicured. And if that Mariah is cool with all these celebrities singing her tune and willing to show up for “Carpool Karaoke,” it is A-OK with me. Defend Mariah, praise this song.

(CBS)
(CBS)