Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Meet the New Divas

One of the most lingering memories from my childhood is listening to my copy of the Divas Live '98 CD over and over again in my room, just soaking up all that diva goodness. What is Divas Live '98, you ask? Well, it was a concert special on VH1 that brought together on one single stage--wait for it--Gloria Estefan, Shania Twain, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and The Queen of Soul, Bitch, Aretha Franklin. You can't get any more amazing then that, can you? The greatest thing about it, besides the amazing music, was that the show was done live so there are these great impromptu bits of banter in between each song where the diva would talk to the audience. I listened to that CD so many times (is it any wonder I grew up to become the diva I am today?) that I can still recall great bits and pieces of these moments For instance, there's Gloria being humble and claiming that she's more of a "divette" than a full diva. Or Shania letting us know, in this really off-hand way, "If it wasn't for music class, I probably would have been a high school dropout." Or after the Aretha and Mariah duet when Mariah loudly exclaims in jubilant praise, "ALL HAIL the Queen of Soul!" to which Aretha replies, like she doesn't give a shit in the slightest, "Ms. Carey...Mariah." Oh, and did I mention the fabulous music? Mariah with gospel choir in tow for "Make It Happen." Gloria running through an amazing 5 minute megamix of all her hits. Shania making me fall in love with "Man! I Feel Like a Woman" for the first time. The aforementioned Mariah and Aretha duet. Celine with special guest Carole King ripping into "The Reason." All five going over-the-top with falsettos and theatricality in the finale of "(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman." VH1 tried to imitate its success a couple of times afterwards, even getting TINA and Cher for Divas Live '99, but something was always sorely lacking in comparison with the '98 version and they finally gave up.

Until now, that is. About a week ago, VH1 announced that they were bringing back Divas Live this year for the first time since the odd 2005 incarnation. So, without further ado, here's your 2009 lineup:

Er, okay. Listen, I love me some Leona and Adele's got a great set of pipes on her (I'm not even going to start on the inclusion of Miley Cyrus as one of the Divas because I could probably go on for five lengthy paragraphs about the ridiculousness of that), but I don't think any of them (besides Kelly) have been around long enough to earn a spot in this lineup. I can understand that VH1 is trying to make it hip with names that the youngsters will recognize and (hopefully) tune in to watch, but I think they're completely missing the point of why the '98 lineup was so special. Seeing Mariah, Gloria, Shania, Celine & Aretha on stage together was a celebration of everything that was good with the 90's with some of the biggest voices who made it so great. It's simply to early to be proclaiming Leona and Adele to be equal with Shania and Mariah. Give them five or seven years and if they're still around, making hit after hit, then we can talk about including them. Besides, any show that gives Miley the chance to belt "It's the climbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb" at the top of her (limited) vocal range to prove that she can "sing" is bound to be a nightmare waiting to happen.

If you were running Divas Live '09 and had to assemble a bunch of divas for one night only, who would you choose?

I would stick with Kelly Clarkson since she's practically defined the 2000's. Add in Beyoncé because she is the epitome of a Diva (in a good way, obviously) and everything this show was meant to celebrate. Pink would be a good pick to give the music a little variety (something which the '09 lineup is clearly lacking). Bette Midler would be awesome as well, although I'm not sure her voice is still good enough to compete with these younger gals. Still, her attitude alone would make up for any vocal deficiencies.


mB said...

Hm, who would i pick?

(Yes, in my head you assemble Divas Live like a UK pop group)

Xtina: Dirrrty Diva.
P!nk: Spunky Diva.
Alicia Keys: Gospel Diva.
Shakira: Latin Diva.
Beyonce: Diva Diva.
Kelly: Idol Diva.

Encore Entertainment said...

Definitely add Beyonce, that seems like a strange omission. True Leona has not reached 'diva' level yet, neither has Miley or Adele. Do divas have to be pop singers? What about Jewel...Christina Aguilera, yes...I'm loving the Pink inclusion. I'd say Fergie just for Big Girls Don't Cry, but no...Shakira...maybe. I don't know. I'm just glad Rihanna's not there.

Anonymous said...

I feel the perfect line up would be Beyoncé, Pink, Kelly, Christina, and Shakira. Wouldn't have it any other way. Unless we flash forward to the near future and find ourselves a Nadine Coyle all Diva readied, then it would be perfect.

Dame James said...

Like most of you, I'm practically flummoxed by the B omission. She has to be busy that night because when I think of modern day diva, she's the first person I think of.

Encore: No, I don't think Divas (in the Divas Live context) have to be pop singers necessarily. They simply must possess (1) amazing pipes (which is why Britney isn't eligible, even if she turns that disadvantage into an advantage) ans (2) a strong personality, which I'm guessing is what did Jewel in (that, and the fact that she hasn't had a big hit in years).

Karen said...

My list would include...

Alicia Keys
Kelly Clarkson
Leona Lewis
Norah Jones
Martina McBride

And then I'd have Celine, Bette, Whitney and Streisand come in a sing one song each.

Now that would be an awesome line-up!

Karen said...

Oh--and I'd add Zooey Deschanel to that list!

Anonymous said...

Are you a diva though? Thought it was just a label. Miley can fuck herself.

Monsieur Cinema said...

Calling Miley a diva is like the Twilight franchise calling itself a "saga". I would stick with Kelly and Beyonce, definitely. Shakira's earned this and Christina definitely has the pipes to mantain the standards of the '98 concert, so they're in too. I'm on the fence about P!nk. I like her but to me she's more out-of-place than adding-variety. Maybe Jenny Lewis should take her (hypothetical) place?