VH1 is bringing back its “VH1 Divas” concert series Sept. 17 after a four-year hiatus. But don’t get too excited yet. Some idiot over at the network thinks Miley Cyrus, Leona Lewis, Kelly Clarkson, and Adele should join the ranks of Mary J. Blige, Cher, Aretha Franklin, and Celine Dion, who have all been honored on the broadcast concert before. These four young singers, however, are not divas — they’re not even on their way to becoming divas! I remember when the word “diva” meant that a singer had proven her longevity, didn’t have to rely on lip-syncing, and had reached a certain maturity level in her craft. With the exception of Kelly, all of these singers have come out in the last three years. And rising to stardom via a talent competition show, like Kelly and Leona did, is just plain cheating. Would our lives have been any less enriched if we had never heard of these women? I don’t think so.
Forget that Miley is only 16 and consider that three of her chart-topping albums weren’t even released under her own name. They were all soundtracks from her Disney Channel alter ego Hannah Montana. Sure, she’s scored a top-10 hit with “See You Again” and Breakout went platinum under her own name. But I don’t trust the music choices of little girls and think adults only like Miley’s music because she has a good production team, not talent.
British singer Adele made the leap across the pond, but will anyone remember her in a few years? I doubt it. By then there will be some other singer who the music powers that be will be trying to force down our throats. Remember how popular Amy Winehouse was? Now she’s a joke. Even if Adele does stick around, as the most recent winner of the Grammy Award for Best New Artist, she’s still too new to be considered a diva.
I’m so annoyed that “diva” has become synonymous with any pop tart with a mic. Aretha, Patti, Bette, and even Mariah are in a league of their own. Calling Miley and Kelly divas disparages the work of these real singers. If your whole sound and look were conjured in a lab or studio, then you’re not a diva. If you think the Auto-Tune (Rihanna, I’m talking to you) belongs on every song, then you’re not a diva. If you’ve spent most of your career pretending to be someone else, then you’re not a diva. If you can’t bring fans to tears with just one gut-wrenching, soul-searching note, then you’re not a diva. If you have to tell people you’re a diva, then you’re not a diva.
You know what? I’d rather we retire the word “diva” than continue to bastardize it by calling every female singer one. Who’s with me?