Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Gladys Knight, and Patti LaBelle all declined offers to appear at this Divas concert. Diana, Donna, and Gladys did not like being referred to as "Divas", while Patti felt disrespected by the producers when they asked her to appear as Brandy's guest. See more »
This second concert in VH-1's 'Divas' series suffered from several ill-conceived ideas.
Firstly, there were too many divas in the line-up. 1998 saw only six performers, each of them an established star. This follow-up tried to cram in nine divas plus an inexplicable guest spot by Naughty By Nature's Treach. The inclusion of the younger acts may have been a ratings ploy but it meant that the show was weakened. Brandy and Faith Hill's segments were a notable lull in the proceedings and Leann Rimes' duet with Elton John was excellent but she should have left it at that. These artists had not yet done enough to earn the right to perform alongside the real divas - with the exception of Mary J. Blige, who seemed to fit into the overall show, unlike the others.
Also, the show was too long, totalling two and a half hours - the VHS and DVD versions have been heavily edited.
The main acts were good value, although the legendary Cher's contribution was very brief (3 songs) and was somewhat ruined by her decision to mime to her mega-hit, 'Believe'. In contrast, Elton John's set was lengthy, including three collaborations and two solo songs and this was when the show started to drag, not helped by Brandy and Hill. Even Whitney Houston's memorable star turn at the end could not redeem the show by then. Houston belted out two 'Bodyguard' hits and some new material and performed a storming duet with Blige.
The main reason to watch this show is for the superb performance of Tina Turner. Opening the show with her signature tune, 'The Best', and giving a powerful rendition of 'Let's Stay Together' (unforgivably omitted from the VHS/DVD releases), she struts her stuff wonderfully and does not outstay her welcome. Joined by Elton John (putting their backstage differences aside), they spark magnificently on 'The Bitch Is Back' - a great choice of song for this event.
High points: 1) Tina's entrance; 2) Cher and Tina reunited after more than 20 years during 'Proud Mary'; 3) Whitney Houston and Mary J. Blige exchange hollers on 'Ain't No Way'. Low points: 1) Brandy; 2) Elton John plugs his new musical; 3) Chaka Khan's wailing in the finale.
If I were you, I would watch the first half hour of this show and then go and do something else until Whitney Houston. Otherwise it's mind-numbing.
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