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Secrete Santas

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Sin #2: Hiding Her Headlights Under a Bushel

Jewel just eliminated the only two good reasons guys buy Jewel albums (Hint: It's not her two front teeth). She's all bundled up for winter on the cover, ensuring this Christmas album won't have a snowball's chance in hell.

The Olsen Twins (•• 2 identical lumps of coal)
Mary-Kate & Ashley's Cool Yule
(Kid Rhino)

Question: Which one is the evil twin?
Answer: Which one isn't the evil one?

Sin #1: Slacking Off

Yep, Mary-Kate and Ashley have a Cool Yule Christmas album, but the background singers do a good 80 percent of the singing. And who's to say it's not just Mary-Kate double-tracked?

Sin #2: Not Slacking Off Enough

They make like Twin Bad Voodoo Daddy when they do-doo-doo a swing version of "Jingle Bells" called "Swingle Bells." Why couldn't their parents just say no twice?

Bill Engvall (••••• 5 lumps of coal and a cow chip)
Here's Your Christmas Album
(Warner Bros.)

Sins #1, 2 ,3 ,4 and 5: This Just Ain't Funny!

Here's a novelty -- Xmas novelty songs that don't elicit so much as one ho, let alone three. Nashville comedian Bill Engvall dumps a load of Blitzer dung on our laps with Here's Your Christmas Album. The record is full of candidates for the "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" sweepstakes, including: "Rudolph Got a DUI," "I Got Sued by Santa Claus" and "Fruitcake Makes Me Puke" (country and rock versions), all about as funny as Tiny Tim's crutch. Engvall the Rednosed Redneck compounds his error by doing a serious song about the North Star. Kind of like when Ray Stevens followed up "Gitarzan" with "Everything Is Beautiful," except he had the good sense to do it on different albums. Ray's still alive, but the sound you're hearing when you play Bill Engvall's album is Stevens digging a grave to eventually turn over in.

Rosie O'Donnell (•••••••••• 10 fat lumps of coal or a 10-pound bag of briquettes)
A Rosie Christmas
(Warner Bros.)

Where to begin . . . there's a mine field of insufferable Christmas duets on this one, 10 in all. We've given Rosie one lump of coal for each and an extra one for making us suffer through Darren Hayes' solo rendition of Wham!'s "Last Christmas," a go-nowhere carol that's like an impounded sleigh. Here are some of the bigger sins:

Sin #1: Gluttony

Rosie forces skinny Gloria Estefan to pig out with her on "Gonna Eat for Christmas." Could become a big holiday staple for deal-a-mealers.

Sin #2: Impersonating Der Bingle

Not surprisingly, the album features a Rosie duet with Sir Elton John. Once again someone encourages Reg to bastardize one of his old copyrights ("Your Song") and to ruin an older one, "White Christmas." Right now Bing's up in heaven slapping Princess Di around for vindication.

Sin #3: Pissing on the Wall of Sound

Rosie duets with Cher on "Christmas Baby Please Come Home." The song hasn't been the same since U2 ruined it for Special Olympics, and the old Phil Spector classic doesn't benefit from having former Wall of Sound background singer Cher do her Mr. Ed impersonation on top of it. Cher gives it the "rave" treatment, which allows the producers to shove Rosie's voice through the vocoder after only singing one and a half lines. Somebody loaded up on smart drinks that time.

Sin #4: Inflating Celine Dion's Ego Even Further

Rosie duets with Celine Dion on "The Magic of Christmas Day." Big-headed Rosie probably had to phone in her parts. Imagine trying to sing in the same room as Celine Dion and trying to suck up any remaining oxygen.

Sin #5: Statutory Rape of a Muppet

Rosie duets with Elmo on "Do You Hear What I Hear?" The answer is a stomach-turning yes after hearing Rosie sigh, "I love you Elmo" repeatedly at the conclusion of her tickle tryst with the Sesame Street swisher. Did she think no one would play Tom Cruise this CD? No doubt Cruise is crushed. Nothing's worse than seeing your Kmart mama double-crossing you with an animated dishrag. Safe out of screeching distance from divas like Celine, Rosie lets loose her astonishing one-and-a-half-octave range. Do you think when she was dueting with Elmo, Rosie's people were telling her "Put him away! He's nothing! He's just a squeaky puppet!" Pickle her, Elmo!

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Serene Dominic
Contact: Serene Dominic