Madonna to Taylor Swift: 50 Years of Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby”

Christmas is that magical, precious time of year when many of us will make up for months of missed calls home by buying totally useless crap for the people we love. Yes, Christmas is magical. Our pop stars think so, too. In the spirit of giving, they will take time-honored Christmas classics and then cover them in a last-minute seasonal cash-in. No contemporary carol has been reinvented more than late great Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby.” Today, we get to hear another desperate remake of Kitt’s jingle, this one by beleaguered Brit band Sugababes. Following covers of the tune by Madonna, Kylie, Shakira, and even Taylor Swift, it not only sounds redundant, it seals the song’s fate as the Gayest Christmas Carol Ever.

• In 1953, Eartha Kitt performed the original. And really, it was like The Big Bang all over again.

• 34 years later, Madonna, employing a sense of humor she’s long since misplaced, gave her own spin to the tune for this charity Christmas album.

• Of course, there’s also the obligatory RuPaul version, issued in 1997, which out-shined later remakes by Taylor Swift and Macy Gray.

• And in Ally McBeal, noted feminist everywoman McBeal provided her own sultry twist to the song. Which still wasn’t nearly as sultry as Miss Piggy singing it.

• Kylie Minogue’s own remake, as mimed on Top of the Pops was replete with odd squeaks:

• Last month, Shakira did her own version of the tune at the Rockefeller Center:

• Which is an excellent antidote for those who feel scandalized by the Pussycat Dolls’ filthy handling of the song.

• But really, this is all to say that the Sugababes’ own stamp on the song neither adds anything to the jingle or takes anything away. It’s a delightfully mediocre cover. Which is the fairest assessment of anyone who’s tried to tackle the tune since Kitt made it a hit more than a half-century ago.

Post-Solange: Lady Gaga, Leona Lewis, & Other Unlikely Covers

Yesterday, we knew nothing about Beyogaga and it was “Sol-Angel this!” and “Hadley St. Dreams that!” Then heads exploded as Solange gave The Dirty Projectors a slick makeover. In a vain bid to extend Solange’s mission of fipster goodwill into a wave of good news for the superlative popstrel that’ll still be relevant by the time next week rolls around, here’s an obligatory trend piece! No, not one about rock-and-roll types legitimizing pop songs/”Single Ladies”, rather the exact opposite. Because irony for irony’s sake is so passé. With pop stars, it’s about self-awareness as a device in furthering careers. It’s about bringing music to the masses. It’s about saving lives. Too far? Fine, fine. In any case, a round-up of some recent exemplary rock covers that pop stars have performed for some reason or another.

In true fashion, Leona Lewis reduces Snow Patrol’s “Run” to a bland ballad that sits pretty next to “Bleeding Love” and “Happy.”

Girls Aloud has incorporated their version of Wheatus’ “Teenage Dirtbag” into their live tours.

Meanwhile Kelly Clarkson performs White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.” In addition to that, she also serves up a Alanis Morrissette/Kings of Leon combo and her spin on this Black Keys tune.

In a previous life, the Sugababes covered the Arctic Monkeys’ “I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor” for the NME set. And last week, they gave Florence & the Machine’s “Rabbit Heart” a whirl.

And of course, Lady Gaga performs Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida.”

Fashion Week Crisis: Ousted Sugababe Keisha Buchanan’s Breakdown

Alas! What would any Fashion Week be without tears, bloodshed, and a bitchy mutiny? Irrelevant. And so, last night brought the melodrama in a big way at a party at the Red Bull Fashion Factory — which is where Vivienne Westwood revealed her latest Red Label collection recently. But first, the thumbnail! According to Wikipedia, the Sugababes “[were] formed in 1998 by original members Keisha Buchanan, Mutya Buena and Siobhan Donaghy. After some initial success, Donaghy left the group and there was the introduction of Heidi Range in 2001 … The band survived a second line-up change in 2005, when Mutya Buena left and was replaced by Amelle Berrabah. In September 2009, it was announced that after 11 years in the group, Keisha Buchanan had departed the group and been replaced by Jade Ewen.”

So what you have left isn’t a #1 charting pop band, but a Frankenstein of miscellaneous Barbie doll parts. Near the end of the band’s run, Buchanan became the driving force. So salt deposits on her cheeks are to be expected. However, she was glowing for a bit last night as well, bedecked in leather.

Buchanan, who is believed to have been forced out by the band’s management — in cahoots with her former band members — appeared devastated and was consoled by Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams (who herself Jade Ewened her way into Destiny’s Child in some way) and members of British boyband JLS. Ultimately, with choice moments like this and this no longer possible, it leaves us at the end of the Sugababes and the beginning of Atomic Kitten 2.0 or something. Please Twitter your condolences here.

Only a month ago did she dazzle in Alexander Wang at an advance screening of The September Issue in the UK. This tragic parting of the ways also takes us into the final day of London Fashion Week. So please plan your catwalk itinerary accordingly.

4 Terrible Celebrity Twitter Trends

As this week crawls toward an agonizingly slow close, New York City remains a soggy teabag in too-hot water: puffy, steamed, damp, and fraying. Frankly, we’d all rather be snacking on mackerel in Antarctic bunkers. But that’s just not our reality, which is otherwise two-fold: be on the streets for too long and fumes emanating from trash or smelly people will asphyxiate you. Conversely, stay indoors and you’ll probably end up doing nothing besides tooling around on Twitter, because at 140 characters, it requires minimal exertion and that means fewer puddles of sweat around your apartment. But sadly, in this post-Michael Jackson era, this means that such intensive exploration will probably yield in many sobering truths about your idols. In a world of hashtags, character limits, and no copyeditors, Twitter will kill the celebrity.

The fan-idol relationship has always been premised on an unequal spread of information. In the past, we wanted more. And the stars would feed us little crumbs of information through ancient things like newspapers and Mary Hart. By doing this, they were never really culpable for their actions. And with Twitter’s noise pollution, the exact opposite becomes truer. Sloppy copy, nonsensical outbursts, and even the stray fight are all part of terrible habits among stars. And here are four prominent trends that, if kept up, will probably end up dismantling the cult of celebrity as we know it. Which is good news for Heidi Montag, but unfortunate news for the rest of us.

Logorrhea. We like to believe that the actors and pop singers who make the big bucks are too busy sun-bathing at some rich people-only island. Which makes Kutcher’s Joni Mitchell-quoting tweet annoying. It lacks any real context. And you wonder what could’ve been so important that he felt had to replace all the “you”s with “U”s and if he shouldn’t have been frying crickets for Demi Moore’s dinner instead.

Oversharing. I don’t want to think of my pop stars priming themselves to become lifecasters in the shoddy mold of Julia Allison. But here we are. One-third of the Sugababes, Britain’s biggest girlband (who’ve recently been slashed and dashed on Idolator) tends to tweet TMI bits like, “Pj’s on, pop a movie on, jump in bed with a tub of ice cream, and knock out! Lol night all xxx.” One of the things I like about my pop stars, if not their ability to sing or dance, is that I get to believe that they’re superhuman. Idols, icons, and divas don’t need sleep, food, or visits to the bathroom. But here we basically have a pop star being so candid that she’s one tweet away from tracking her bowel movements.

Banality. We like to think of celebrities as being interesting. Surprise! Most of them aren’t. The nearly-incomparable banality of Gwyneth Paltrow, whose GOOP Twitter is as insipid as you perceive the GOOP enterprise to be: completely or only sort-of. Not to be outdone, there’s the overwhelming banality of Miley Cyrus. She exhibits many emotions, but rarely ever channels it into her music. But it makes us long for the late ’90s, when all pop stars did was sing and dance. They do not have emotions. But they do apparently have PR disasters involving poles.

Typos. Mariah Carey predates most of the Twitter generation. In that way, we’d like to think of her as being perfect and omniscient. And immune to typos. Which makes her tweets so heartbreaking. You’ll recall Carey is having a difficult time with her latest album. But she’s making time to do obscure things that involve, “Still Chillin w/ raerae in the kitchen..having a splashh.” No amount of prayer could force her to connect all the dots and realize that perhaps next January would be a better time to launch her album. But I understand. It is important for celebrities to cut loose and have a “splashh” sometimes. Especially during this sort of heat wave.

Kanye West Would Like to Date a Sugababe

Still smarting from the way Amber Rose chose to rub salt in the wound of their maybe-split (with Chris Brown! Really, Amber?), noted rapper and sunglasses-wearer Kanye West has made public his romantic interest in one-third of British pop band Sugababes. Namely, member Amelle Berrabah, who also finds herself on the rebound. Incidentally, Berrabah’s had another dazzling dabble in hip-hop recently, which probably makes West even more lovelorn.

An onlooker who could be one of two former band members confides, “Kanye adores Amelle and helped her when she was in Hollywood with the other Sugababes recently — he set up a few meetings with music execs for her. She sees him as an older brother figure, not a potential boyfriend but he has joked that things could be different if she wanted.” Although West has had a thing for Berrabah since she had her assistant rebuff his advances about three years ago.

But then again, this entire thing could just be one of those happy twists of fate, conveniently sewn into pop culture DNA last minute to help spur publicity. Which would make enormous sense as the ‘Babes premiered their new, “American-sounding” single in the UK yesterday. And a little hip-hop love here always goes a long way with towards courting favor with American music-buyers.