Why Mariah Carey Wasn’t Allowed to Sing a Song for ‘The Grinch’

All I Want for Christmas Is You” became one of Mariah Carey’s most famous songs, however, Carey also co-wrote another holiday standard: “Where Are You Christmas?” from Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Carey wanted to sing the song herself. Here’s why she was unable to do so — and how she reacted when Faith Hill recorded the song.

Max and The Grinch in a cave
Max and The Grinch | Getty Images

Why Mariah Carey wasn’t allowed to sing a song for ‘The Grinch’

Carey and Christmas go back a long way. She made the unusual choice of releasing a Christmas album, Merry Christmas, very early in her career. The most famous track from Merry Christmas is “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Years later, Carey penned a song for Universal Pictures’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) called “Where Are You Christmas?” The tracks could not be more different. While “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is old fashioned and bubbly, “Where Are You Christmas?” is the sort of maudlin ballad that was very popular around 2000.

According to the book Mariah Carey, Carey wanted to sing the song herself. The problem was she was signed to Sony Records and Universal was one of Sony’s rivals. Ultimately, Sony said Carey’s contract did not allow her to appear on the soundtrack for How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

“All I Want for Christmas Is You”

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Carey didn’t agree with Sony’s argument. After all, Sony previously allowed her to perform on albums by other artists. According to rumor, Carey’s ex-husband and Sony Chairman Tommy Mottola prevented her from recording “Where Are You Christmas?” Another rumor claims Sony realized they wouldn’t be able to re-sign Carey to her label so they decided to make her final days there difficult.

How Mariah Carey reacted when Faith Hill sang ‘Where Are You Christmas?’ instead

Regardless of the reason, Carey did not release a recording of “Where Are You Christmas?” Instead, Faith Hill performed the song. Carey was upset she couldn’t sing the track. However, she was kind to Hill and happy that such a talented singer recorded the song. Hill felt somewhat guilty she was able to record “Where Are You Christmas?” because of Carey’s struggles with Sony. However, Hill was pleased to release a song she thought was destined to become a hit.

“Where Are You Christmas?”

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Which performed better: ‘Where Are You Christmas?’ or ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You?’

So was “Where Are You Christmas?” a hit? The track reached No. 65 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2001. It hasn’t returned to the chart since, which is notable since Christmas songs sometimes return to the Billboard charts years after their release. The public simply wasn’t very interested in ‘Where Are You Christmas?” Meanwhile, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Carey was upset she couldn’t sing “Where Are You Christmas?,” however, “All I want for Christmas is You” outshined it commercially and remains a radio staple.