Diva Madness: The Final Four
Alright folks, here are the final four of Diva Madness. Before we get to the updated brackets, you should know that the poll settings have changed so that you may vote once a day per device, so make sure to check back and help out your diva of choice. Polls will close on Tuesday, April 5th at midnight, and the final matchup will be posted the next morning. Let’s take a look at the four divas you’ve chosen to represent each era and their road to the final four. Instead of picking one video for the round, I’ll scatter several links to performances and mash ups throughout their introduction. Have fun, and vote responsibly!
She may have started out as a #6 seed, but I doubt that many people are surprised by Aretha’s presence in the final four of Diva Madness. Since starting her musical career solidly in the arena of gospel with the likes of Mahalia Jackson mentoring her throughout the 1950s, she followed her idols Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson into the world of popular rhythm and blues. She began to chart on Billboard in 1961 (at the age of 19), and now holds the record for most charted female artist of all time, with 112 singles in the pop charts, and 100 R&B entries (including albums and singles). Her very first #1 hit became an iconic feminist anthem. She has not lived a life of drama per se, but has perhaps internalized the drama around her, resulting in health challenges including weight fluctuation. Rolling Stone magazine has called Aretha one of their top 10 artists of all time, and the #1 singer of all time.
Annie Lennox is the dark horse of this competition, making her way into the final four as an underdog for most of the tournament. In brutally tight competitions, she took out my personal fave, Janet, and predicted favourite, Whitney, only to finish of Stevie Nicks who made it past both Gloria Estefan and Madonna. She’s proven to be a contender, and every time I talk to folks about this competition I am reminded just how loyal Annie fans are. Though this Scot began her career with the Eurythmics and turned out several #1 hits, it was her solo work in the 90s that elevated Annie to a household name and gave her a place in the diva category, proven by her 1992 album title, Diva. She defies many of the normal diva attributes, both in terms of drama and presentation of gender, but it’s hard to say whether these things are to her advantage or disadvantage in this competition.
She is the last #1 seed left in this competition, making her the diva version of UNC (for the basketball fans out there). She is favoured to win, but that is without factoring in some mad love for Adele since her 25 album and tour. Still, Mariah has the nostalgic factor, representing the era that could be considered the golden period for divas. To get to this place, she has rarely found herself in a close-call situation, always having a clear advantage against Faith Evans, Toni Braxton, Mary J. Blige, and even most recently, Celine Dion. In terms of diva defining categories, she has an edge in every possible one. Her vocal range is legendary; her runs are unbelievable; her hand motions when she’s doing a run are on point; she has a residency in Vegas and has enough drama and narcissism to star in her own reality show; and she does nearly everything in heels and sequins. On top of that, she is arguably the most successful female artist of all time. Also, have you seen her episode of “Cribs“? The girl is undoubtedly a hustler.
With only 3 albums in less than a decade of recorded music, Adele has already found herself listed with the best-selling recording artists of all time. She has a great voice, but I think what makes her a diva is her ability to emote beyond the words she sings. In her mid 20s, Adele has already seen a share of drama, and channelled it directly into some very catchy pop-songwriting and big hair. I just realized that none of these four finalists are total package performers – they are all primarily vocalists that stick to what they do best. Adele is certainly in this category, proving time and time again that she can just stand on a stage and sing, and we will be mesmerized. Plus she’s still so young, so hopefully there are many years of divaness to come.
Ok, it’s time to vote! Remember, you can come back every day until Tuesday to place your vote. See you on Wednesday for the championship poll!