the premiere prima donnas.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a post for the guys around here. So today, I’m giving all two of you gentlemen an article about the most empowered, emotional, dramatic “I-Am-Woman-Hear-Me-Roar” types out there. So great, right?

Jay Caspian Kang writes for Grantland, a sports/media site that I posted about here. I was lucky enough to interview him for an upcoming magazine article, and he is way cool– smart, funny, irreverent, talented, focused, and humble. His most recent article on the site is the “DIVAWATCH 2012.” This marks the third year that Kang and a group of fellow serious researchers/analysts have gotten together to take a look at the year’s leading ladies in order to discuss, argue, and perhaps even throw a few punches in pursuit of the divAne truth. The female singers’ diva-nity is determined after close calculation of the following considerations: Taking the Listener on an Emotional Journey; Vocal Talent; Iconic Song/Moment; Commercial Success; Upstaging Presence; Hand Gestures; Hair; Stank (the judging committee has labored over the definition– the original and easiest one is “the growl in a Diva’s voice as she ground out the low, angry notes”); Making Insane Demands/Going to Rehab/Overall Drama; Weight Fluctuations; Aging into a Drag Queen/Wearing Insane Hats. 

The article is a funny, perceptive one, but it is not one without controversy. My girl Beyonce isn’t even included (“does Beyoncé even qualify as a singer anymore? She’s more of a corporation; think Jordan in ’98.” Ouch), and lovers of Katy Perry, beware. Apparently all she does is “melodic barking.”

Not surprisingly, Adele tops the list. But it’s not all glory, laud, and honor for her– here’s their criticism:

“The Committee just can’t see her breaking her current mold; she’s a very good singer who sings very good songs, but she still hasn’t provided a Consumption Frenzy moment that has made everyone run to the computer to watch everything she’s ever done. These iconic performances can happen at any point in a Diva’s career; Aretha’s ‘Nessun Dorma’ came at the age of 56; but the potential can usually be spotted pretty early on. Adele just doesn’t have it, at least not at this point in her career.

As much as the Committee loves “Someone Like You” (sources report that the Committee listens to the song somewhere between 3 and 12 times a day), there’s little chance it will ever breach the Iconic Song zone. Adele might have outsold Whitney’s The Bodyguardalbum, but in ten years, no fat Taiwanese kid is going to set the Internet on fire with his note-for-note cover of ‘Rolling in the Deep.'”

Go check out the article and see if you agree with Kang and his cohorts. In reading, I also learned of a number of new women myself (clearly my diva radar is on the blink), but I did think what he said about Robyn was so true/funny (“That being said, this feels like the 90th time we’ve been introduced to this great, quirky Swedish singer named Robyn who has cool hair, whom everyone in “Europe” just adores, who will open your eyes to the destitution of the American club music scene. Although it seems like this version of Robyn has some more staying power, the Committee can’t really get over this one fundamental truth: Robyn is just budget ABBA with lasers and a newfangled computer processor. And we really, really like Robyn. She’s just not anything new. So, please, everyone, stop telling me to listen to her”).

(Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

2 thoughts on “the premiere prima donnas.

  1. I wonder how Jay would rate the Stank level of Sycorax the witch in “The Enchanted Island” from the Met last Sat afternoon – Joyce diDonato could give Adele a Stank lesson I think.

  2. The committee handcuffed themselves by leaving out Beyonce and Katy (losing Amy Winehouse didn’t help either). Would have liked to see them settle a Britney-Christina (in their prime) dispute.

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