Sunday, 11 November 2012

Training Wheels...

I don't subscribe to being a snob in too many things. Just one area, if I'm honest - Music. If you're a regular on the ESP side of the street, then you'll know that I was spoon-fed Motown with Farley's Rusks, Stax and Chess (Records) with my pureed carrots and my signature wardrobe is still big hair and sparkles - preferably with tassels (less 'Showgirl', more 'Proud Mary' thank you very much)...


I do believe it was the late, great, Ms. Whitney who uttered a turn of phrase that stuck with me from the first moment I heard it. She may not have been it's originator, but it was when she described a very young Bobbi Kristina as a "Diva in Training" as she joined her onstage for a performance of 'My Love Is Your Love', that my mind derived a new mental hierarchy for today's ladies in the limelight...

To be a 'Diva', you have to have some mileage behind you (vocal, not just column print), you have to have 'The Chops'. You have to have a Class, a Grace and a Natural Aura that leaves those around you entranced. Why do you think Simon calls it 'The X Factor'? You have to have that something that just can't be bottled. If you go by Ms. Whitney's definition, then to my mind, the ladies of Destiny's Child for instance, are 'Divas in Training'; on the brink of graduating in a few years time but not quite there yet, even though they've been in the music business for more than two decades! If you weren't even born in that time, then unless you're taught by one directly, or the female version of a 'Little Michael Jackson' or a 'Little Stevie Wonder' (do your Motown homework if you're unfamiliar with the references, kids!) then the diamond-encrusted crown isn't for you - you just haven't earned it yet.

A 'Diva' isn't a label for just anyone, it's the title for a Queen, from my aforementioned snobbish point of view. I subscribe to that 'old school' mentality; you need to have 'paid your dues, to strut in the (jewel-encrusted) shoes'. You're not just recognised by one name because you've made it your stage name, oh no; you're so legendary that you don't need a surname, people just know who You are...You're Donna, you're Carole, you're Whitney, you're Cyndi, you're Mariah. When you throw, a 'Ms.' in front, then you really are the 'Big Guns': Ms. Patti, Ms. Tina, Ms. Chaka, Ms. Gladys, Ms. Aretha - well you get the picture...

Now, if you're wondering what on Earth inspired this little episode - well I have eight shapely syllables for you: VH1 Divas 2012. When I saw the line up of the inaugural show, it honestly made my little (wannabe Diva) heart swell for years to come - it was that monumental. Can we cast our minds back for a moment, to that joyous six minutes in 1998...



Whew...Praise Be after that, right? Now if you've caught an Entertainment News headline at all this week, then you very likely may have worked out where I'm going with this...No? Ok join with me in shock and horror:


The #VH1Divas2012 Line Up is as follows:

Miley Cyrus
Demi Lovato
Kelly Rowland
Ciara
Jordin Sparks

When I saw this line up, I thought it was someone's unfunny joke. Hosted by former American Idol contestant and runner up (ahem) 'DivoAdam Lambert, there are in my 'humble' opinion, all but two names listed who have earned the grades to qualify as 'Divas in Training' - one of those purely on talent, not time accrued. An MTV EMA line up? Well sure, they're perfect for that! But this is NOT a line up of DIVAS because there isn't ONE on there! The cruellest blow of all, is that they will be 'tributing (read insulting)' two of the greatest voices to leave the Earth this year - Whitney Houston and Donna Summer.

Now I'm sorry, but this is just so wrong, on so many levels, that I am hard pressed to find a right one. The level of talent on the show has obviously never matched that first line up, but this year? Well I think I'll just YouTube the performances of those two 'Divas in Training'. The rest I'll give a miss, methinks, because in the words of Ms Aretha, well they can('t) just take it on home.

VH1 Divas 2012 will air in the US on Sunday, December 16th. Check your local listings for the UK airdate. If you really want to...

Until next time!
ES ;o)