VH1’s beloved “VH1 Divas” paid tribute to the great cities of soul music tonight including Chicago, Detroit, London, Memphis and Philadelphia. The all-star diva roster included Mary J. Blige, Kelly Clarkson, Florence + The Machine, Jennifer Hudson, Jessie J. and Jill Scott, accompanied by one of the most exciting groups of modern soul, The Roots, with Questlove and Adam Blackstone as musical directors. “VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul” premieres Monday, December 19 at 9PM ET/PT on VH1.
In addition to the Divas, the evening included an incredible line-up of performers including Chaka Khan, Erykah Badu, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Boyz II Men, Estelle, Marsha Ambrosius, Travie McCoy, Mavis Staples, Wanda Jackson, Martha Reeves and Ledisi. Presenters were Dolly Parton, Queen Latifah, Terrence Howard, Nas, Common, Sherri Shepherd, La La Anthony, and Archie Panjabi.
The night kicked off with a medley of soulful reworks of “You Keep Me Hanging On,” “Spotlight,” “Real Love,” and “Since U Been Gone” performed by Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige and Kelly Clarkson. Mavis Staples, Erykah Badu and Chaka Kahn then stopped the show with a high-spirited rendition of “I’ll Take You There.” Other highlights include Florence Welch with a barefoot performance of “Walking on Broken Glass” and Chaka Khan and Mary J. Blige dueting on “Ain’t Nobody.”
One of the night’s major highlights included a special tribute to Amy Winehouse and her contribution to modern London soul music. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings andWanda Jackson performed “You Know I’m No Good,” and Florence Welch performed “Back to Black.” The Dap-Kings contributed a number of tracks for Winehouse’s Grammy Award-winning album “Back to Black.” In addition, Nas, who collaborated with Winehouse on the first single of her current posthumous album, introduced the tribute medley. The actual show airs on VH1, Monday, December 19 at 9 p.m. ET/8 CT