The Twelve Days of Christmas Classics starts today! Over the next two weeks, EW will put the best versions of the most-covered Christmas songs up to a daily vote to compile the ultimate holiday playlist. If your favorite singer isn’t in the list below, you better not pout: Each artist will only appear once throughout the next 12 days. Listen to our top six, vote for your favorite, and let us know why you made your pick in the comments below.
UPDATE: The polls are closed, and we have our winners! Listen to YOUR ultimate holiday playlist here.
To kick off our Twelve Days of Christmas Classics, we start with a song that wasn’t even a Christmas tune to begin with, but it’s come to fit snugly with the holiday’s wintry weather: “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” The catchy duet, with its suggestive-verging-on-coercive lyrics, was written in 1944 by musical-theater vet Frank Loesser (Guys and Dolls), who originally sang it with his wife at a housewarming party. He ended up selling it to MGM in 1948 for the movie Neptune’s Daughter, for which it earned an Oscar.
So which flirty version is your favorite? Check out our six options, in chronological order, and place your vote below:
Sammy Davis Jr. and Carmen McRae (1957)
The Rat Packer and McRae recorded the song for the joint album Boy Meets Girl, and their jaunty banter at the start of the song leads seamlessly into the first line. Also, their occasional spoken lyrics and laughter throughout makes it seem like an actual conversation/negotiation.
Dean Martin and a female chorus (1959)
Yup, another Rat Packer, and this one is trying to convince a whole chorus of ladies to cuddle up by the fire. His version is a little more buttoned-up than Sammy’s — kind of like one of Dino’s perfectly tailored suits — but the King of Cool keeps things far from cold.
Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone (2003)
You might remember Zooey’s shower duet with Will Ferrell in Elf, but for the film’s soundtrack, the New Girl star recorded the song with the fedora-wearing cult-favorite jazz and blues singer. Her retro, sugary-sweet vocals combined with his gravelly baritone works surprisingly well.
Norah Jones and Willie Nelson (2009)
Another unlikely-but-successful mix of voices, Norah and Willie’s jazzy version also serves as an instrumental duet between her piano and his guitar.
Darren Criss and Chris Colfer (2010)
The traditionally male/female duet got a much-needed shakeup when Glee had the adorable Blaine and Kurt perform it during season 2’s “A Very Glee Christmas.” The most shocking thing about this duet isn’t its two male singers; it’s just how simple and classic the typically over-the-top show kept this version.
Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (2013)
Another play on tradition: In this one, which debuted during Lady Gaga & the Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular on Thanksgiving, JGL is trying to rush home and Gaga is the one begging him to stay. The eccentric pop star is downright old-Hollywood in a red satin gown, soft-shoeing next to the endlessly charming movie star.
Now that we’ve refreshed your memory…
How did you pick your favorite, PopWatchers? Make your case in the comments below! And hurry up: Voting closes daily at midnight ET.