Christmas puzzler: Where are the new hits?

Chicago Tribune celebrity columnist Luis Gomez discusses celebrity sightings across Chicago which include Beyonce at a vegan restaurant and Selena Gomez at the Willis tower. (Posted on: December 16, 2013)

It’s the question that gets asked every holiday season: Why can’t anyone come up with a original, classic Christmas song anymore?

Many have tried, including Justin Bieber, The Killers, Christina Aguilera and even Snoop Dogg. But the last artist to do it was Mariah Carey, whose song “All I Want for Christmas” came out in 1994.

I asked artists performing at 103.5 KISS FM’s Jingle Ball concert at the United Center Dec. 9 for their take on the subject, and they, too, struggled to come up with an explanation.

Robin Thicke believes there hasn’t been any recent classics simply because “Nobody has made a good one.” Flo Rida, who years ago rapped on a “Jingle Bells” remix featuring Trey Songz and the Dixie Chicks for retail giant Gap, feels it’s just too difficult to compete with the classics. “Those records are timeless,” said Flo Rida.

Travie McCoy seemed genuinely intrigued with the question. “Nothing sticks,” McCoy said of recent Christmas songs, though he does have a soft spot for TLC’s “Sleigh Ride.” “It’s time for a good Christmas song. Maybe I should start working on one.”

Enrique Iglesias? He also seemed stumped. “The classics are so good, they’re tough to beat,” Iglesias said. “Those songs are embedded in our brains for such a long time.” Iglesias, however, likely won’t throw his hat in the race. He said he has never considered writing an original Christmas song during a career that spans nearly 20 years.

Has Iglesias stayed away from yuletide carols because he finds them cheesy?

“Are you kidding me? I like cheese as long as it’s good,” the always self-deprecating Iglesias said. “If it’s a good song, I’ll sing it. If I could write one of those (Christmas) songs, are you kidding me? I totally would. I’ve just never sat down and tried to write a Christmas song.”

The artist performing at Jingle Ball who seemed most interested in writing a Christmas album was Avril Lavigne. She told digitalspy.com in October that one of her goals is to release a Christmas album. Whether that will happen any time soon is unclear. Lavigne opted not to speak to media at the United Center. Regardless, don’t expect Lavigne to come up with the next original Christmas classic, should she go through with the album.

“I would have to do covers, though,” Lavigne told digitalspy.com. “I love really traditional Christmas songs.”

lgomez@tribune.com | Twitter @TribLuis

For more celebrity news and sightings in Chicago, go to chicagotribune.com/luis

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