The sequins, stilettos, and sparkle were out in full force for “VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul.” Music’s most powerful voices joined together to pay homage to the great cities of soul music including Chicago, Detroit, London, Memphis, and Philadelphia at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom on Sunday night (Dec. 18).
The all-star lineup included Mary J. Blige, Kelly Clarkson, Florence + The Machine, Jennifer Hudson, Jessie J, and Jill Scott, accompanied by The Roots, with ?uestlove and Adam Blackstone serving as musical directors. 50 Cent, Common, and Queen Latifah were among the presenters.
The big-voiced trio of Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, and Kelly Clarkson kicked things off with a medley of “You Keep Me Hanging On,” “Spotlight,” “Real Love,” and “Since U Been Gone.” Mavis Staples, Erykah Badu, and Chaka Khan brought the house down with “I’ll Take You There” and Khan and Blige dueted on “Ain’t Nobody.”
Following an introduction from Nas, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings and Wanda Jackson paid tribute to the late Amy Winehouse with “You Know I’m No Good.”
“She was the most incredible artist,” said Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine, who performed Winehouse’s “Back to Black” during the taping. “I feel kind of overwhelmed.”
“VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul” airs tonight at 9 p.m. on VH1.