Michael Bublé is back with his third annual Christmas special (airing Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on NBC), and this year’s guests are Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey, whose bedazzled mic is truly something to behold. “I felt so unimportant,” Bublé jokes. “No, it was funny, we actually had a laugh about it, her and I. I like that the girls have bedazzled mics. I saw Katy Perry’s mic the other night behind the scenes at a show we were both doing together, it was glorious. They actually look like they have special powers. I expect to see it in, like, Lord of the Rings or something. Gandalf could use the s–t out of that thing.” In the hour, which also features a running gag with Cookie Monster, Bublé takes a few requests — and he insists he wasn’t just waiting to hear audience members say whatever he was planning to play next. “You just need to look at my musicians’ eyes and how big they are,” he says, “because half the songs that we sang, I don’t think they knew. We just faked it. It was really nice to have those spontaneous moments. It was something we did in about 20 minutes. I found a lot of inspiration in how much fun [the audience] had singing with me. Everybody was really in the spirit. There was even one of the ugliest Christmas sweaters I’ve ever seen, which was so much fun for me. It was so ugly, and I was so excited to get to talk about it.”
Below, we quiz Bublé with our Christmas Song Questionnaire. Read his responses, then give us yours.
The Christmas song you own the most versions of: “White Christmas.” My favorite is Bing Crosby’s. Irving Berlin wrote it, and when they asked him, he said he thinks it’s the greatest song he ever wrote, which will tell you a little something about how great some of these Christmas songs are.
The first song you want to listen to when you start playing Christmas music each year: “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home).” To be honest with you, Christmas some years didn’t start until Darlene Love went on David Letterman and sang it. She’s the queen for me. And also, I will say this, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” — the second you hear the little [sings the dings], you know it’s on.
The Christmas song you’ll listen to any time of the year: “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”
The Christmas song you normally can’t stand, but then there’s that one person whose arrangement made you like it: That’s a good question. It’s probably “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” I hate that song. But then you hear it by The Muppets, and you just realize what you’ve missed.
The hidden gem Christmas song you wish more people knew about: A song called “Cold December Night” that I wrote. I love it. I think it’s one of my favorite songs that I ever wrote. I love the fact maybe, if enough people get into my Christmas record, one day it might be its own kind of standard, too.
The sexiest Christmas song: “Santa Baby,” or “Santa Buddy,” as I called mine.
The funniest Christmas song: You might not know it, but in Canada, there’s a couple of guys named Bob and Doug McKenzie, the McKenzie Brothers, they do “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and some of the gifts they get each other are seven packs of smokes, four pounds of back bacon, and the last one is [sings] “And a beer in a tree.”
(Bonus question for Bublé) The Christmas song you sing to your child: You know what’s really funny, it’s a song that I’ve never recorded. I always sing “Little Drummer Boy” to him. It’s so relaxing when I’m holding him, I get deep [sings], and he just kinda stares at me and passes out in my arms. It’s a dulcet one.
Your turn! Copy and paste, add your answers, and post in the comments.
The Christmas song you own the most versions of:
The first song you want to listen to when you start playing Christmas music each year:
The Christmas song you’ll listen to any time of the year:
The Christmas song you normally can’t stand, but then there’s that one person whose arrangement made you like it:
The hidden gem Christmas song you wish more people knew about:
The sexiest Christmas song:
The funniest Christmas song:
Mine, for more inspiration:
The Christmas song you own the most versions of: “Silent Night.” 16 versions. I need them at different times: I love Brad Paisley’s when I’m driving on the winding road to my mother’s house in rural Central PA, at night, and it truly is silent out. I need the Mills Brothers’ or Nat King Cole’s warm, dreamy versions when I’m home alone in the city and need to turn off the TV and computer.
The first song you want to listen to when you start playing Christmas music each year: Otis Redding’s “Merry Christmas Baby.”
The Christmas song you’ll listen to any time of the year: Kenny Loggins’ “Celebrate Me Home.” Alabama’s “Christmas in Dixie.” Aaron Neville’s “Such a Night.” (Of the standards, Michael Bublé’s version of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” which is arguably my favorite, and Whitney Houston’s “O Holy Night,” because no matter how many times you hear it, you still can’t guess where the next note will be.)
The Christmas song you normally can’t stand, but then there’s that one person whose arrangement made you like it: “The Little Drummer Boy.” But Josh Groban’s version has that reverent, dramatic climax when he belts “I played my drum for him” and “So to honor him.” So when he brings it back down to sing, “I played my best for him” and “Then he smiled at me,” it clicked. I remember my sister playing it in the car for me because she couldn’t believe it made her tear up. Then it got me, too. Second place: “Auld Lang Syne,” until I heard James Taylor’s.
The hidden gem Christmas song you wish more people knew about: Matt Morris’ “My First Snow.”
The funniest Christmas song: Eric Cartman’s “Swiss Colony Beef Log.”