June 07, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

What can a diva get away with? Just about anything. At least according to folks at VH1’s Divas Las Vegas. The May 23 concert, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, featured Cher, Mary J. Blige, and Cyndi Lauper, among others, and attracted such guests as Tommy Lee, who came with squeeze Mayte (Prince’s ex), David Hasselhoff, and AJ McLean. ”We did hear rumors that Janet Jackson and Celine Dion ask for brand-new toilet seats [in their hotels],” says Dixie Chick Emily Robison. Fellow Chick Natalie Maines chirped in: ”Squattin’ gets hard on the road.” But Dion poo-pooed any bad behavior: ”I don’t even know what diva means.” Backstage chatter centered on Whitney Houston, who was said to be AWOL from the previous night’s rehearsal (though a spokeswoman for VH1 says Houston was scheduled to be at a Thursday rehearsal only, and she was). As for her duet partner Blige, her take on the diva thing may be the best: ”If I ever start acting like [one], please let me know…. This is all temporary.”

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