The recent resurgence of Aretha Franklin sparked a thought the other day: Whatever happened to VH1’s annual deliciousness known as Divas Live? Do you all remember it? Every year from 1998 through 2004, VH1 broadcast a live concert (except for the 2000 Diana Ross-centric show, which had to be pre-recorded because of her, um, rather divalicious demands) that brought together a sampling of the best female vocalists for one explosive night of melisma, finger waving, and glass-shattering notes. I think it goes without saying that it was quite amazing.
The original lineup in 1998 featured Aretha, Gloria Estefan, Shania Twain, Celine Dion, Carole King, and Mariah Carey. In fact, I’m including a clip of Carey’s legendary performance of “My All” from that night, below. Her ridiculously huge hair is the best part — it looks like she’s wearing four wigs and still stuck her finger in a light socket for a tad extra volume. Now that’s a diva! Skip ahead to about 3:40 in the clip, and that’s when Mimi really breaks it down — she gets emancipated, if you will. Even with her head down, you can almost see a little smile on her face as she knows what’s she’s about to do (with an army of backup singers, of course!) is simply killer. “The Divas,” as they were called, always got together at the end and sang something, too. The first year was Aretha’s hit “Natural Woman,” and it turned into a screaming match with the ladies trying their best to outdo each other. Genius.
Anyway, the big question here is: With so many cool, strong women out there today — women with amazing voices, mind you — why the heck hasn’t VH1 resurrected Divas Live?We should celebrate these ladies! Nothing is more empowering than acollection of women with pipes that’ll bring down the house. And,people, this is a time where hope is needed. What’s more hopeful than abunch of ladies singing about the promise of love and prosperity andwhatnot? Not much, folks. I can’t think of anything better.
But who should this new incarnation of Divas Live include? Sure, the final Divas Livein 2004 had gotten a tad sad, as the Pussycat Dolls, Joss Stone, andAshanti were included, but that was just because seven years in a rowkind of takes a toll on the pool of available divas. But in the fiveyears since then, I think we’ve got some new possibilities: KellyClarkson, Duffy, Amy Winehouse (if she’s well), and Leona Lewis anyone?Them, along with a few classic divas — Whitney Houston could use it asher big comeback! — would set a new standard. Maybe they could justcall it The New Divas Live: Kittens & Classics or somesuch? Let’s start a letter-writing campaign right now!
PopWatchers, are you feenin’ for a new Divas Live? Which divas should be included?
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