Last year, VH1′s popular concert series saluted the troops. This year, the beloved franchise is paying tribute to the cities where soul music was born. Can I get a hallelujah? The cities slated to be honored are Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Philadelphia and London. London, WTF? I guess with the resurgence of soul thanks to Adele, it sorta makes sense.

With soul music taking front and center, this year’s Divas lineup is packed with ladies who have some serious pipes. Sorry Miley Cyrus, your services aren’t needed this year. I still can’t get over the “Party In The USA” singer was deemed a Diva two years ago. So not fetch. Yes, Grechen Weiners I’m still trying to make it happen.

“This year’s ‘Divas’ offers a modern twist on soul music, all while tipping its hat to the legacy of key cities that created this musical heritage.” – Lee Rolontz, EVP, Original Music Production & Development, VH1 and VH1 Classic

Taking place at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom, some of today’s most powerful singers will be taking on timeless classics. As in previous years, this edition of “VH1 Divas” will benefit VH1 Save The Music Foundation and its programs to restore music education in public schools. “VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul” premieres Monday, December 19 at 9 PM/8c on VH1.


As you can see in the picture above, three of the six Divas named this year are Mary J. Blige, Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson. All three of these ladies have headlined the concert in previous years with Blige taking stage several times. Alone, I can’t wait for each of these ladies to belt out soul classics, but it’s the duets I’m looking forward to the most. The best part of the VH1 Divas series is the unforgettable duets that take place. By themselves they are great, but in duos, magical moments are bound to occur. Producers, please make a Clarkson and Hudson duet happen. Two former Idols bringing down the house. That would be a showstopper.

The other three ladies headlining this year’s concert are newbies to the annual event. Brits Jessie J and Florence + The Machine have won over audiences on either side of the Atlantic due to their unique voices. Their inclusion makes sense since London was chosen as one of the cities honored. I love “Dog Days Are Over“, but it was Florence’s performance at this year’s Grammys with Jennifer Hudson and Christina Aguilera that won me over. Girlfriend held her own with Jennifer and XTina’s vocal gymnastics.

I’m also beyond ecstatic that both Jessie J and Jill Scott made the cut. It’s good to see Jessie J giving my prediction as a breakout artist some credence. Scott has got to be one of the most underrated soul singers of the 2000s and glad she’s getting some loving. She’s just one crossover hit single from becoming a household name.

2011 VH1's Divas Live: Which Diva Will Steal The Show?

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Be sure to tune in on Monday, December 19 at 9 PM/8c on VH1 to catch all the action. I wonder what other guest performers will be added to lineup to perform duets with these ladies. I’m hoping a Divo makes the cut. Elton John crashed the party several years ago and it’s about time another man joined the ladies on stage.