Mariah Carey was already feeling as festive as can be on Monday (Dec. 16), but the news that one of her most beloved hits went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart 25 years after its initial release turned that mood from happy to euphoric in an instant.
Though her modern Christmas classic “All I Want For Christmas Is You” has topped Billboard‘s holiday chart and its streaming chart as well, this marks the first year that the single off her 1994 Merry Christmas album reached the summit of the Hot 100. The song serves as the grand finale of her Christmas show, which began as a residency at New York’s Beacon Theatre and has since grown into an international spectacular featuring dancers, elaborate sets, gospel choirs and a cameo from Santa Claus himself. In 2018, Carey brought her yuletide cheer to arenas around the world, but this year, she opted for a tour closer to home — and she wrapped it with a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night (Dec. 15), hours before “All I Want For Christmas Is You” officially became the No. 1 song in the country.
“It’s a little bit of a whirlwind!” she told Billboard shortly following the Hot 100 announcement. “Last night was [my show at Madison Square Garden]. I loved the show and the fans were incredible. I was just like, ‘Okay, even if [“All I Want For Christmas Is You”] is No. 2, that’s a huge accomplishment.’ Wow. I don’t even know what to say. We definitely wanted to kick it into high gear this year with the song to celebrate the 25th anniversary, but I definitely didn’t expect it to hit No. 1 two weeks before Christmas! I just want to thank everybody. I want the world to have the best holiday ever.”
Carey is the top female solo artist in Billboard‘s history thanks to her lengthy list of No. 1 hits: “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is the 19th song to top the tally, and had risen as high as No. 3 in 2018 largely thanks to the spike in streaming it receives in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
“This just feels so great because it’s been such a long time coming, and I never really expected it,” says Carey. “Even when it went to No. 9 two years ago, and then No. 3, I was like, ‘This is incredible!’ But I was always just so thankful with the holiday chart, so thankful. This is just, like, mind-boggling.”
Her tour may have wrapped yesterday, but Carey has a few more things on her to-do list before it’s time to head off to Aspen to officially begin her holiday festivities. On Thursday (Dec. 19), she’ll flip the switch at the Empire State Building, where a music-to-light show designed by Marc Brickman will sync the illuminated NYC landmark with “All I Want For Christmas Is You” at 8 p.m. E.T. In the meantime, she’ll be “relishing the moment” of this latest milestone with her loved ones in New York — and thinking of her Lambs, too, given their support of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” (and their prior devotion to previous albums, such as the soundtrack to her 2001 film, Glitter, which reentered the soundtracks chart last year thanks to a Lambs-driven social media campaign).
“I don’t want it to sound trite, because people think, ‘Oh, the Lambily, what does that mean–‘ no,” she says. “They are the best fans in the entire world. Not only did we have #JusticeForGlitter this year, we have the greatest gift ever, which is the recurring moment of ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You.’ And now, seeing it go to No. 1, it’s just making me feel ecstatic.”