Live: VH1 Brings Out The Divas At The Hammerstein Ballroom

vh1divas_ckmseb.jpg
via VH1
VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul
Hammerstein Ballroom
Sunday, December 18

Better than: Whatever Ryan Seacrest is going to cook up for VH1 Soul.

Last night's VH1 Divas taping existed both as a performance and self-contained, 24-hours-out advertising opportunity for its broadcast. (Tonight at 9 ET!) TV tapings are always strange to experience first-hand, given the way they're designed for after-the-fact consumption; there are lots of long lulls in the action for the purposes of commercial breaking/set redesigning, and in "let's all get together and put on a show" scenarios like this one there are TelePrompTers with lyrics ready to assist the under-rehearsed. Despite the breaks and assists, though, this taping didn't have the hermetically sealed feeling of ones I attended during the pre-social-media era—people were encouraged to tweet and Foursquare check-in and let their pals on social media know what they were experiencing via corporately provided hashtag. In the 21st century, after all, all publicity is.

The night's bent toward soul meant that most of the acts on the bill had pipes and cred—Chaka Khan, Mavis Staples, Martha Reeves, and Wanda Jackson represented for the pre-music-video era, while the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Ledisi, Jill Scott, and Jennifer Hudson were among the new-schoolers. Jessie J's tireless, apparently unending promotional campaign also continued here; her new party trick involves her stuttering out words instead of singing them in toto, a tic that serves to both illuminate the bleatiness of her voice and make her seem even more malleable and annoying. She's the opposite of a diva, her jet-black-dyed artifice doing a miserable job of covering up the void within; I expect either a turn to Christian rock or the "mysterious" leak of a sex tape within the next 12 months.

More »

Radio Hits One: VH1 Takes On The '00s Pop Canon

radiohitsone_october10.jpg
VH1 spent last week counting down what the channel, and its panel of celebrities and "experts," consider The 100 Greatest Songs of The '00s. They certainly haven't been the first to assemble such a list—Rolling Stone and Pitchfork and every blog under the sun had their say about two years ago, and I recently put together a list of my 522 favorite singles of the decade. But VH1's take is noteworthy because the network has become the highest-profile outlet for the kind of listmaking that's gone from a music-geek compulsion to watercooler fodder in the decade since High Fidelity was adapted into a Hollywood movie.

More »

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...