The long-running VH1 Divas Live is back and better than ever with an all new show celebrating the places where soul music got its start and continues to thrive. This year's show follows last year's salute to the troops and features some very exciting performances from divas who've certainly got a lot of soul. Headlining the event will be the Queen of Hip Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige and two American Idol alumni, Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson. The show will air live on VH1 at 9 p.m. on Monday, December 19<sup>th</sup> from New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom.
Soul music has been an integral part of the pop music scene for many decades and places such as New York, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Philadelphia and London have all been centers where the musical genre has grown and flourished. Each place has added its own unique contributions to create the tapestry that is rhythm and blues and each will be celebrated at this year's outing. VH1's Lee Rolontz explains the idea behind the show:
"This year's telecast will showcase the vast impact soul music has had on 21st Century music and pop culture...as our talented and diverse lineup will attest. 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."
Yonkers, New York native Mary J. Blige has been called the Queen of Hip Hop soul ever since she broke out onto the scene back in the early 1990's. With a special and unique blend of classic soul sounds mixed with a modern day hip hop vibe, Mary has amassed huge following and gained a reputation as one of the great soul singers of today. Her newest album, "My Life II...The Story Continues," is a follow-up to her breakthrough sophomore effort and fans will be looking forward to hearing at least a song or two from that new set.
Kelly Clarkson is of course the first American Idol and just this week released her fifth studio album, "Stronger." This Texas gal with the soulful voice will be making her second appearance in the concert series and tweeted on Thursday that she's "super stoked" about being a part of the show. Jennifer Hudson, another Idol alumni and Academy Award-winning actress is an accomplished Chicagoan with a set of powerful and soulful pipes.
Rounding out the performance slate thus far is Grammy Award-winning R&B singer Jill Scott, who's latest album, "The Light of the Sun," recently reached #1 on the Billboard charts, the multi-faceted Brit group Florence and the Machine, and up and coming English recording artist Jessie J. VH1 Divas Live is sure to be an exciting event for music fans everywhere, and more performer announcements are sure to come in the days and weeks to come. Stay tuned...