Ariana Grande’s Best Cover Songs

Ariana Grande is the rare pop singer who probably could have been a star in several different eras. Her music features an eclectic mix of modern trap, 1990s R&B, and the occasional 1960s throwback. Her cross-generational appeal is one of the reasons for her prominence. Grande has acknowledged her old school influences through covers; here are some of her best.

Ariana Grande performs at Coachella | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for AG

‘Last Christmas’

Grande seems to be more enamored with Christmas music than most of her peers. She’s only been a pop singer for a few years, but she’s already recorded two EPs of Christmas music, 2013’s Christmas Kisses and 2015’s Christmas and Chill. A standout from her Christmas catalogue is her cover of Wham!’s “Last Christmas.” By changing the song’s genre from 1980s synthpop to contemporary R&B, she makes the song’s melody sound even more beautiful than it already did.

Ariana Grande in London, England | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for AG

The glossy production from superstar producer Babyface gives the original a run for its money, and Grandea’s vocals have all the vulnerability of George Michael’s with a little more power. “Last Christmas” is one of the most ubiquitous songs ever written, but Grande and Babyface make it possible to hear it anew.

‘Santa Baby’

Ariana Grande and Santa Claus | Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Soon after Eartha Kitt debuted the kitchen novelty song “Santa Baby,” it became a perennial Yuletide favorite. However, it was only after Madonna covered the song in the 1980s that it became a standard. Since then, the song has been recorded by everyone from Kylie Minogue and Gwen Stefani to LeAnn Rimes and Taylor Swift.

Grande’s version of the song, which is a duet with Liz Gillies, embraces the camp of the original in a way that Taylor Swift’s does not. The two singers add what sound like xylophone samples to the track and sing it with memorably breathy vocals.

‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’

Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande | Christopher Polk/MTV1415/Getty Images for MTV

Long before anyone even conceived of “Don’t Call Me Angel,” Miley Cyrus did perform an acoustic duet with Ariana Grande. The two superstars teamed up together for a cover of this 1980s classic by Crowded House to draw attention to Cyrus’ charity, the Happy Hippie Foundation. The cover of the song is acoustic, which really allows the voices of both singers to shine. Cyrus’ voice sounds better here than it does on many of her big hits. The track also proves that these two don’t need to conform to the musical trends or polish their music in a studio to captivate audiences.

Although this song did not get any real airplay, the singers did release a casual video for the song. It simply features Grande and Cyrus sitting on a couch together and singing the song. Cyrus wears a unicorn onesie while Grande wears a koala onesie. Grande’s choice of clothing might be a reference to Crowded House’s Australian roots, but Cyrus’ choice of an outfit feels random, kitschy, and so very Cyrus.