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SO NU, HO HO WHO: Welsh classical/pop star Katherine Jenkins is a mezzo-soprano and frequent Brit Award winner who’s sung for Queen Elizabeth and the late Pope John Paul II, and was named an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire on New Year’s Day for her musical accomplishments. But she’s probably better known here in the colonies for coming in second place on Dancing with the Stars behind Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver in 2012.
SIMAN TOV U MAZEL TOV: In September, Jenkins married American artist and filmmaker Andrew Levitas. To celebrate her first Hanukkah married to a Jew, she recorded “8 Nights of Joy,” which Brits can purchase as a single (it’s included, free, on the U.S. version of her newest album). With anthemic strings, a backing chorus, and frequent refrains about joy and peace, it sounds… just like a Christmas single, and an overly treacly one, at that.
A GREAT MIRACLE HAPPENED THERE: Still, even a lousy Hanukkah song that’s basically a lousy Christmas song is still a Hanukkah song. Finding new singles for what is, ultimately, a very minor Jewish holiday isn’t always easy; last year, kosher food behemoth Manischewitz sponsored a Thanksgiving-themed songwriting contest, but that was only due to the odd confluence of the Hebrew and Gregorian calendars that had the festival starting right after you finished your (probably treyf) turkey dinner. There are catchier songs out this year, like this a cappella parody of “All About That Bass” by the Maccabeats, but if your standard-issue Christmas song is a novelty at best, an a cappella Hanukkah parody is in some other genre altogether.
CHEER FACTOR: 1/10. Unless you’re already a fan of Jenkins’, you probably won’t ever want to listen to “8 Nights of Joy” a second time, much less every night for the next week. But give her some chocolate gelt for trying.