VH1's televised concert brought together Tina Turner, Cher, Whitney Houston and Elton John and plenty of drama

VH1 Divas Live 1999

  • TV Show

Music, fashion, and, of course, catfights — VH1’s Divas Live ’99 had it all. The April 13 premiere of this year’s cavalcade — including Tina Turner, Cher, Whitney Houston, and divo Elton John — drew 9.5 million viewers, nearly 50 percent more than last year’s divine roundup, and marked the first time VH1 led all other cable channels in prime time (after reruns, the network says Divas ’99 will be seen by 18 million viewers). ”It’s one of a kind,” says manager Gary Borman, who lobbied to land his client Faith Hill a spot. ”It put her in illustrious and legendary company.” VH1 has rerun the show ad nauseam, but many questions linger — such as, did Tina and Elton really come to blows during rehearsal? (Yep, causing them to call off their proposed tour.) Here are others:

If these Divas were Live, did Cher lip-synch?
Her spokeswoman insists it was live. But the truth, says VH1 exec VP Wayne Isaak, is she ”sang live to a track. Because of that synthetic voice inflection, they had a backing track. But she sang into her mic.”

Where were Cher, Tina, and Elton for the ”I’m Every Woman” Finale?
Tina wanted to get home, and Cher felt she had concluded her set. As for Elton, ”he didn’t feel like singing a chorus of ‘I’m Every Woman,”’ says Isaak. ”I respect that.”

Is there anyone who didn’t want to be a Diva?
VH1 was turned down by Diana Ross and Lauryn Hill; Donna Summer was booked.

TLC were supposed to perform — where were they?
According to Isaak, TLC had actually committed to joining in on ”I’m Every Woman,” but according to their spokeswoman, band member T-Boz fell ill. ”In the end it wasn’t a big loss for us,” says Isaak, ”with all due respect to their popularity.”

Will there be a Divas 2000?
That remains to be seen. VH1 president John Sykes says the network may take a year off and attempt to ”reinvent” the show. That decision will be made this fall. But if there is a concert next year, the channel has already begun its Y2K wish list. Among the desired divas: Madonna and Annie Lennox.

VH1 Divas Live 1999
  • TV Show