Once a Diva, Always a Diva
It was Diva vs. Diva vs. Diva Sunday night with the New York Times putting a racial spin on the outcome. Ben Sisario and Joe Coscarelli speculated before the show, “Many longtime Grammy watchers say that a sweep by Adele — and therefore a Beyoncé snub — could feed into long-simmering complaints that the awards too often fail to recognize black performers in the most prestigious categories.”
Indeed, Adele swept and wept, as she accepted Album of the Year and gushed over her “Queen Bey.” It’s hard to feel sorry for Beyoncé, who, by the way, has been nominated 62 times and won 22 times. She’s 35, worth $245 million, and carrying J-Z’s twins.
At the same time, Adele, pulled off the same awards sweep she did five years ago, not to mention, “Perhaps only Adele commands the music-business clout to stop and restart a song on live TV — letting loose a profanity that didn’t make it onto the air — but on Sunday she justified her perfectionism.”
The newest Super Bowl Diva provided a wonderful, surprising Grammy highlight. Lady Gaga put another notch in her performance belt, “gyrating like one of Mötley Crüe’s ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ while going lung to lung with one of hard rock’s premier growlers. Lady Gaga fully committed to this performance of Metallica’s ‘Moth Into Flame,’ slithering around the drummer Lars Ulrich and the guitarist Kirk Hammett, and catapulting herself into the crowd.”
And for fans who dug it, despite the technical difficulties and Laverne Cox forgetting to mention the band in her introduction (Metallica may not be big with the LGBTQ community), “[She was the] quintessential perfect fifth member of this band,” Ulrich told Spin. “We already started fast-forwarding to the next chapter when we can do more of this. It’s not one of those ’20 lawyers, strategists and managers trying to force two people from two different worlds to figure out how to spend four minutes together on a national telecast.’” La Gaga, by the way, has won 6 Grammys.
I wondered about all this Valentine's Day evening soaking in the presence of the Diva of all Divas (if the turnout of gay men is any indication); the soon-to-be 73-year old Diana Ross. She’s performing an extended stint (February 8 through 23) at the Venetian. Ms. Ross may have sold over 100 million records and been named "Female Entertainer of the Century" by Billboard magazine, but she, never, ever, won a Grammy and had only a dozen nominations. It hardly seems possible for a woman who has had 70 hit records. In situations like this, she, of course, was given the Grammy Lifetime achievement award.
Ross, not wanting to lose her voice to Nevada’s dry air (and plenty of shows to go), did only 70 minutes, with frequent breaks for dress changes and vocal chord resting. To her credit, there was no time-filling chat about the old days or playing of old videos to lard up the show. She sang plenty of Supremes tunes, “Ease on Down the Road” from “The Wiz,” the disco era’s “Upside Down’ and a couple from “Lady Sings the Blues” and “Mahogany.” She brought the house down with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” which would have been a natural closer, if not “Someday We’ll Be Together.” However, she ended with an extended version of the 70’s Gloria Gaynor hit she had covered in 1995 “I Will Survive.”
Indeed, Ms. Ross has survived in stunning fashion. While she clearly loves the applause, one wonders why she and other performers practice their craft into their 70s. Perhaps, its economics. The Venetian box office has tickets priced for $94 to $354.
One wonders if Gaga, Adele, and the Queen Bey will have enough discipline, to command the same prices, and be as worshiped when they hit their 70s.