Archive | March 2016

Diva Madness: Elite Eight

In case you haven’t been paying attention, this tournament has been emphasizing the second word, madness.  I’m not gonna lie, I never expected this.  I did not consider a remote possibility that that BOTH Beyoncé AND Whitney Houston would be booted out of the competition during the Sweet 16.  Guys.  I was saving all their best videos!  I hardly have anything left for Annie Lennox and Lady Gaga.

It would be a different thing if this were simply a a female vocalist competition, but I feel as though there are some voters not properly taking the word “diva” in to proper consideration.  Still, I have no one to blame but myself, for putting this decision in the hands of voters.  I feel as though I understand for the first time how Trump could make it this far as a presidential candidate.  So, I will see these brackets to the end, but my heart is no longer in it.  Let’s see how the Elite Eight fare with some national anthems (when available), and in order to understand my deep sadness I dare you to compare them to this performance:

Thank you, Whitney, for showing us how it’s done.  And now with a heavy heart, I present you with the updated Diva Madness Brackets:

elite8

Lady Gaga vs. Adele

Perhaps it is true that there is no such thing as a modern diva.  If a post-90s representative has been narrowed down to Lady Gaga and Adele, then I certainly could be convinced.  The truth is, no matter what happens here, Beyoncé will always be the modern diva of my heart.  More than that, she is the most diva of her bracket, even if we are stuck voting between these two.  It’s as if we’ve forgotten that Bey has had more Billboard #1 singles than Adele and Lady Gaga COMBINED, not to mention she’s owned the Superbowl halftime show twice, and still blown away a national anthem like NONE of these women yet.  Ok, I’m done.  Maybe ya’ll just wanted a fairer fight.  Adele does not yet have an epic performance of “God Save the Queen,” so I found the closest thing: her Bond theme.

Mariah vs. Celine

Now, at least the 90’s still has some proper divas to offer the final four.  Either way, this quadrant will be represented a vocal legend and a personality to compete with the gods.  Just a reminder to please make your decision based on the singer (their voice, interpretation, and hand motions) rather than your patriotic (or aesthetic) bias towards either anthem.

STEVIE vs. ANNIE

These two do indeed deserve to face one another, even if I think this is not the appropriate time or place.  Neither of these woman have a time when they sang the national anthem, so I suppose it’s good they are competing against one another.  They are also, after all, the only two divas left who began their careers in rock bands.  Who will you pick to represent the 80s, and rock divas in the final four?

ARETHA vs. ELLA

We’ll end with a truly epic face-off, although I could not find a performance of Ella Fitzgerald singing “The Star Spangled Banner”.  Maybe she didn’t feel like she could swing it as much as she wanted.  Anyway, as with Annie Lennox, I’ve found her singing “Georgia on My Mind,” which is basically a State Anthem, if that was actually a thing.  Meanwhile, I found more versions of Aretha singing the American anthem than any other diva left – I picked this one primarily for the video quality.

Polls will remain open until Friday, April 1st (no joke!), so make sure to let your friends and diva-allies know to place their votes in time.  See you next weekend with the final four!

Advertisements

Diva Madness: Sweet 16, Part 2

In Part 1, you voted on the west side of the brackets for divas that have started their careers after 1990.  Part 2 will make our way to the other side and vote for classic divas who were well established by the time the 80s were winding down.  For the full updated brackets, click this link.  Ok, time to see who is still in this, beginning with the quadrant that has dealt me the sharpest dagger to the heart, by eliminating Janet Jackson.

80sS16

MADONNA (1) vs. STEVIE (5)

These two divas in many ways could not have more different careers.  Stevie has been most successful as a offering lead vocals (and personality) to Fleetwood Mac, while Madonna has been a solo act from day one.  They are 10 years apart in age, but both women were born to perform, and have proven they will not let anything stop them from touring past any kind of retirement.

ANNIE (11) vs. WHITNEY (2)

While Annie Lennox has been fighting her way to get here, first against Heart’s Ann Wilson, and next against my spirit animal, Janet, Whitney has barely had any competition in this tournament so far.  That could change here and now, although based on brackets you’ve sent me, Whitney seems to be the overwhelming favourite to represent in the final four.  Then again, I know at least one guy who is determined to see Annie Lennox win this whole thing…

And on to the final quadrant of classic ladies…

Classic16

BARBRA (1) vs. ARETHA (5)

Is it just me, or did this just get very real?  Here we have two incomparable divas up against each other, for your comparison.  It’s completely conceivable that either of these women could take it all the way to the end of this competition.  Although Barbra is a top seed, she has already matched up against legendary women, and Aretha’s win over Tina last round was an incredibly tight race until she pulled ahead in the last few days.

ELLA (6) vs. DIANA (2)

I have no idea how to decide between these two women.  Both have phenomenal stage presence, even when they barely move, and not only are they vocally talented, but they have richly unique voices that can be recognized by the most novice of fans.  Appropriately enough, just 2 years ago The Montreal Jazz Festival recognized Diana Ross with an award named after her opponent here.  Which diva would you most like to see in the Elite 8?

That’s it for round 3!  If you haven’t yet, don’t forget to vote for the other half here, and check back next week for the Elite 8!

Diva Madness: Sweet 16, Part 1

Welcome to the Sweet 16 of Diva Madness!  With so few battles in each quadrant, we’re going to take two at a time, and in this post we’ll be voting on the west side, representing our more recent divas of the 90s and the 00s.  For a full and updated, printable bracket, here’s the link: DivaMadness S16.  Now let’s take a closer look and start the voting.

ModernDiva S16

BEYONCÉ (1) vs. LADY GAGA (4)

And so it begins with two living legends, both having recently begun a new era or phase of their careers.  They are both easily triple threats (if not quadruple or more), and have found very little competition in Diva Madness so far.  This is certainly not the first interaction they’ve had, and you can watch both divas feature each other on phone related tracks here and here.  Perhaps this poll will be closer than either have experienced in previous rounds…

ADELE (6) vs. P!NK (7)

I’m somewhat disappointed that there is no such thing as an Adele/P!nk collaboration, although I really can’t picture what that would look like on a performance level.  So far here in Diva Madness, Adele has easily beaten underdogs, while P!nk has most recently and notably upset the 2nd-seeded Rihanna to contend for one of the Elite Eight spots.  Who would you like to face off against the winner of Beyoncé vs Gaga?

On to the 90s…

90sSweet16

MARIAH (1) vs. MJB (5)

Although I saw this match-up coming in my prediction, I have to admit, now that it’s a reality, I have no idea how to vote.  These two women are vocal powerhouses who bring a personality to their performance just as large as their dynamic range.  The majority of younger, potentially rising divas are regularly compared to these 90s icons.  Mariah certainly has the record sales and billboard hits to make her a #1 seed, but MJB continues to make current hits and gain younger fans.  There is no given in this poll.

LAURYN (11) vs. CELINE (2)

Initially I thought it might be difficult to draw comparisons between these two divas, but there are actually some similarities.  They both began performing at a young age, their vocal talent is beyond compare, and both women have reached a status that is not easily relatable for the common person.  Who’s the bigger diva though?  That’s up to you.

Share with your diva-loving friends until early next week, and check back in a day or two for the second half of Diva Madness Sweet 16!

Diva Madness Round 2: Modern Divas

Even before the NCAA’s March Madness has their Selection Sunday announcing their seeds and brackets, Diva Madness is ready for your final decisions about which divas will progress into our Sweet 16.  Here are the last 4 polls of round 2, all pairing up modern divas for your votes.

bracket (4)

Beyoncé (1) vs. Kelly Clarkson (8)

Not even the tragic death of Amy Winehouse could prevent Beyoncé from advancing to this round, and now she goes up against America’s sweetheart idol, Kelly Clarkson.  Though they are stylistically different, both Bey and Kelly are first and foremost powerful vocalists who have learned to do a whole heck of a lot more than sing.  Ok, I might be talking about one person more than another, but it is simply not possible for me to fake objectivity.  Votes are anonymous.

Katy Perry (5) vs. Lady Gaga (4)

These are two modern-pop-defining, novelty-loving superstars, and now they appropriately go head-to-head.  While both have been known for their over-the-top antics, they have also proven to be go-to acts for events such as The Oscars or The Superbowl in recent years.  Also, they really inspire hyphens!

Jennifer Hudson (14) vs. Adele (6)

At the 14th seed, JHUD upset the 3rd place to be here and goes up against one of the most popular voices of pop music right now, Adele.  I would absolutely love these two to have a sing off in real life, and to be honest, they both have such great and quirky personalities, I’d love to just watch them hang out on a reality show.  Who should I talk to in order to make that happen?  In addition to the performances below, consider checking out both women on James Cordon’s “Carpool Karaoke” – they are two of his most entertaining guests so far.

P!nk (7) vs. Rihanna (2)

Once again, we have two artists that both have been selected to win this bracket by some who have predicted their final four.  P!nk seems to be on a bit of a break from the spotlight, but there is no doubt she’ll be back with anthemic vocals and some new performance trick any day now.  Meanwhile, with her most recent release, ANTI, Rihanna just became the only artist to have #1 Hot 100 singles from 7 consecutive albums.  I’m also curious who you think would win a fist fight, but maybe that’s a conversation for the comment section.

There are still a few more days to vote on the other brackets, so in case you’ve missed any, here are the links, and how long their polls will be open.  Otherwise, get your friends voting, and prepare for Sweet 16 starting Wednesday, March 8th!

Classic Divas (Until 12am, Sat. March 4th)

1980s Divas (Until 12am, Sun. March 5th)

1990s Divas (Until 12am, Mon. March 6th)

 

Diva Madness Round 2: 1990s

This particular quadrant has had two of the biggest upsets and several of the tightest competitions so far in Diva Madness. Heels are coming off and nails are out, so scroll down to make some choices, and check back to watch the drama!  

bracket (4)

Mariah Carey (1) vs. Toni Braxton (8)

Both of these surviving divas beat Faith to be here.  Mariah had no trouble beating out Faith Evans, who unfortunately just never had the fame to match her vocal talent.  And let’s face it, for several people, Mariah is the definition of diva.  But now she goes up against Toni Braxton, who has strong supporters that made her competition last round the most voted poll of the entire tournament to send her past beloved country star, Faith Hill.

Mary J. Blige (5) vs. Missy Elliott (13)

Though they were debuting their careers in the 90s, both of these divas have become model legends in their respective fields (R&B and Hip Hop).  While individual styles haven’t changed that much, both MJB and Missy have found ways to make music 20 years later that still speaks to us and makes us want to dance.  Missy is one of the lowest seeds to make it this far already, upsetting the 4th ranked J.Lo.  This vote could come down to a simple question of taste.  Either way, it’s up to you.

Britney Spears (3) vs. Lauryn Hill (11)

Even though these two divas could not be more different, this somehow feels right considering where they are at now.  Both have plummeted into scandal and fell far from the spotlight for a time, and while they have had some degree of comeback, they are more known for their flakiness or entitled attitude.  Judge them based on whatever you choose, but try not to forget them at their best.

Christina Aguilera (7) vs. Celine Dion (2)

Here we have a real battle of voices, and on top of that both Celine and Christina are represented in a few folks’ final four picks.  Christina Aguilera has constantly reinvented herself through many mini-eras of style and expression, while Celine has held her own, solidly depending on her unique sound and immaculate technique.  I have a feeling that this one is going to be a tight race.

If you haven’t already, please place your vote on the Classic Era as well as the 1980s Era divas – polls for both will be open until this weekend – and check back tomorrow to vote for your favourite Modern Era divas!