Out of all of Kelly Clarkson’s original Christmas songs about finding a man underneath a plant, her new song “Under the Mistletoe” is not the best. That particular superlative goes to her modern classic, “Underneath the Tree.” But “Underneath the Mistletoe” is very good as well, going for that throwback, A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector sound that most Christmas songs have if they want to signal that they’re “CHRISTMAS!” Most voices couldn’t hold their own against all those ding-dongin’ bells and timpani, but Clarkson isn’t “most voices.” She sings the poppy romantic duet with country singer Brett Eldredge, who does his best Bublé. But listen closely, and “Under the Mistletoe” isn’t as straightforward a track as it appears. In the chorus, Clarkson sings, “Santa hear my prayer,” which … Are we praying to Santa now? Is Santa a god? He is technically a saint, so it checks out, theologically, to pray to Santa. It’s just kind of funny. But frankly rad as hell if we’re doing that now.
Jingle jangle jamboree a Christmas song I sing to thee. Photo: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images