VH1’s beloved franchise “Divas Live” which raises funds for their Save The Music Foundation aired it’s concert last night. Headlining the 2011 concert were Mary J. Blige, Kelly Clarkson, Florence + The Machine, Jennifer Hudson, Jessie J. and Jill Scott. In past years, they’ve revolved the show around a particular diva or honored people, like the US troops last year. This time around, the Divas celebrated music from great soul cities like Chicago, Detroit, London, Memphis and Philadelphia.
I have to say, it was definitely one of the better VH1 Divas concerts in recent memory. The evening kicked things off in style with a banging group number by Kelly Clarkson, Mary J. Blige and Jennifer Hudson. In addition to the Divas, the evening included an incredible line-up of performers including Chaka Khan, Erykah Badu, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Boyz II Men, Estelle, Marsha Ambrosius, Travie McCoy, Mavis Staples, Wanda Jackson, Martha Reeves and Ledisi. Even though they didn’t headline the show, Badu, Ambrosius and Ledisi all impressed whenever they took the stage. Jill Scott should’ve been swapped out for one of these three ladies.
On deck to present film segments and performances were Dolly Parton, Queen Latifah, Terrence Howard, Nas, Common, Sherri Shepherd, La La Anthony, and Archie Panjabi. PS. Is anyone else out there looking forward to Latifah and Parton’s upcoming comedy, “Joyful Noise“? It definitely looks cheesy, but I totally want to see it. I’m definitely calling dibs on press passes.
My Top 5 Favorite VH1 Divas Live 2011 Moments
5. Florence Henderson Covers Annie Lennox
After the package honoring London’s soulful singers aired, Florence Welsh belted out Annie Lennox’s classic “Walking on Broken Glass“. It was pitch-perfect. Lennox definitely qualifies as one of those blue-eyed soul British singers the footage described. Other Brits in the film included George Michael, Dusty Springfield, Adele, Soul II Soul, Estelle and of course, Amy Winehouse.
4. Jessie J & Jennifer Hudson Duet
These two killed it with a soulful interpretation of the disco classic “Knock On Wood” for the Memphis homage. I can’t believe how gorgeous Hudson looks. Apparently, she’s a size zero now. I wonder if she had been this size during her “American Idol” season, if she would’ve beaten Fantasia in the end. Or at least made it further than seventh place. Check out their performance below.
3. Kelly Clarkson & Ledisi Duet
If it’s possible to outshine Clarkson, Ledisi did it with style. This woman slayed everyone she sang with all night. I’m definitely going to check out her music. I was definitely wowed by this neo-soul singer.
2. Amy Winehouse Tribute
The tribute to Winehouse was broken into two performances. Florence Welsh performed “Back to Black” while Sharon Jones and Wanda Jackson “sang” “You Know I’m No Good”. The song title is in quotes because, Jackson totally missed her cue to sing. Jones was quick enough on her feet to seamlessly instruct the band to start over again once Jackson realized what she was on stage to do. I guess, it’s only fitting that Winehouse’s tribute was a trainwreck. Love the woman and RIP, but she had trainwreck’y moments for sure.
1. Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson & Mary J. Blige’s Opening Number
BEST.GROUP.PERFORMANCE. on Divas Live in ages. These three started out with a Supremes number before taking turns being front and center to sing something from their own discography. While they belted out their own hits, the other two sang backup for them. I especially loved it when Hudson sang “Spotlight” and Blige and Clarkson provided the “woohoo” backing vocals. Kelly sang “Since U Been Gone” while Blige performed “Real Love”. Watching Blige and Hudson jump up and down to Kelly’s anthemic track is priceless. Watch it below.
Did you watch the VH1 special? What was your favorite moments? Sound off below. To watch the rest of my five memorable moments from VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul concert, head over to www.vh1.com.