VH1 Divas was born in 1998 as a benefit for Save the Music that showcased the stunning vocal talents of powerful women singers who had plenty of ‘tude (the inaugural lineup featured Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, and Celine Dion). The definition of diva has shifted for the network over the years (hello, Miley Cyrus!), but the just-announced ’11 lineup is a strong one anchored by four-time Divas performer Mary J. Blige, two-time Divas Kelly Clarkson and Jill Scott, previous Diva Jennifer Hudson, and a pair of newcomers, one of which has appeared on the cover of SPIN: Florence + the Machine and Jessie J.
This year’s show, which airs on December 19 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on VH1, is dedicated to soul music; the Roots will serve as house band and ?uestlove has been tapped as the night’s musical director. The event will take place at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom, but celebrate the cities that helped birth and nurture soul, including Chicago, Detroit, London, Memphis, and Philadelphia. If the network is wise, it’ll squeeze a tribute to Amy Winehouse into the mix considering MTV botched its chance to honor the fallen singer at this past summer’s Video Music Awards.