Diana Ross is a legend. Several PO’ed fans that found my review of her latest syrup-fest “I Love You” outlandish drilled that into my head. How dare I diss one of America’s most well-known divas? What’s worse, how could I trash a (blah) record from a Motown icon? Simple.
Ross’ voice, once velvety but never Chaka Khan quality, is tarnished. It happens – just ask Whitney (or her former friend, Crack). Hell, even ask Mariah. For instance, take Ross’s “American Idol” tour-plug performance in March.
Ross, now 63, fumbled her way through a dry and off-key offering of “More Today Than Yesterday,” as she tried to whip the crowd into a frenzy (to distract from her vocals, obviously) by shouting “Hey! Hey!” and letting the Idols (who she coached the night before) chime in when she – most likely – was running low on steam.
And her ultra-fans shouldn’t be in denial. Of all the letters I’ve received, the not-so-stellar Ross review garnered the most. The diva-tees swarmed my inbox with disgraced letters.
One told me that I wasn’t being objective (because reviews are based entirely on facts apparently) and another noted that whomever was paying me should get a clue. The same person sent me the entire “I Love You” sales press release, which noted the album was Ross’ highest Billboard Top Selling Album debut of her (so-so) solo career (at No. 32, selling just over 21,000 copies). For an artist on the brink of breaking through, sure that would be like moving mountains, but for Ross it’s a sign. A sign that it’s time to pass the diva-tude torch – for good.
Diana Ross is a legend. And thanks to The Supremes-inspired “Dreamgirls” she swallowed a barrel of water (just not enough to grow her a new set of vocal cords), reviving her name as the stinging trio’s star. And I’ll be frank, I’m a fan of the way-gay “I’m Coming Out” and get goosebumps from “Endless Love,” but that doesn’t mean this done-diva can sell out sports stadiums – even in her hometown.
A week before going to press, ticket sales for Ross’ “I Love You” tour stop at The Palace of Auburn Hills seem to be sluggish. Main floor seats were still available (at $75 bucks a pop, cheaper than Christina Aguilera’s recent stint there) and Palace publicity has been urging Ross’ PR people to give interviews with local press (us included). But Ross’ camp ain’t giving them. Or maybe Ross is pulling out her diva card, thinking her days of glory haven’t waned.
Well, then, she’s in over her hair.
8 p.m. April 16
Palace of Auburn Hills