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Reality singing: Clash of the TV Divas

With Mariah on Idol, it’s time for the big voices of the reality shows battle it out

  • Christina Aguilera Image Credit: Supplied
  • Britney SpearsImage Credit: Reuters
  • Mariah CareyImage Credit: AFP

Major stars serving as judges on singing competition shows has been all the rage for some time now.

However, major stars with diva-like tendencies lining up to critique defenceless amateur singers on live television is something very 2012.

News of Mariah Carey‘s stint on American Idol followed a wave of buzz for Britney Spears on The X Factor US who both follow in the footsteps of Christina Aguilera, a long-standing judge on The Voice US.

While we might expect three of the female pop world’s biggest rivals to launch a very public cat fight, if veteran Aguilera’s latest comments are genuine, this certainly isn’t the case. “It’s actually cool that all these strong women are joining the club, they’re going to have fun,” said the Beautiful singer.

Aguilera even had nothing but kind words for her former fellow Mouseketeer saying “Britney’s so talented… she’s a pro.”

The season is still young. But if the ladies are going to remain just that, we thought we’d pit them against each other anyway, just for kicks.

Mariah Carey

Who: Mariah Carey, 42. A pop superstar with an unparalleled ability to hit high notes and exhibit self-involved behaviour.

Show: American Idol Season 12

Salary: Carey became the highest earning judge on any reality television programme with a reported salary of $18 million (Dh66 million) for her first season.

Rating: Averaging 20.2 million viewers each week

Grammy Awards: 5

Recording debut: 1990

Albums sold: 200 million worldwide

What she will bring: While she undeniably has a great voice, it’s her potential to display mind-blowingly diva-like behaviour on a regular basis which may be too impossible to resist for many. Curiosity will bring in viewers.

Qualifications: Famed for her five-octave vocal range, power, style and signature use of the whistle register, Carey is more than qualified to judge the girls although we’re not about the boys. Her decades spent building a hugely successful musical career will also help from a mentor point of view.

What she said about the show: “As a singer, songwriter and producer, it’s going to be fun and rewarding to help find new talent and give back with American Idol,” Carey said in a statement. “I’m currently in the studio working on my new album and its first single, Triumphant, which will be out early next month. I can’t wait to channel my creative energy as a part of this show which is a massive global phenomenon.”

Social media: An avid tweeter we can expect Carey to keep us all up to date on the site. Look she’s already started.

“It’s gonna be so much fun working on @AmericanIdol. As a singer-songwriter, I’m excited to help find and nurture new talent. LYM!” she tweeted.

Juggling her relationship: Carey wed actor-comedian Nick Cannon On April 30, 2008, at her private estate on Windermere Island in The Bahamas. The pair met on location for her music video for her second single, Bye Bye, on an island off the coast of Antigua..

Career and kids: Twins Monroe, after Marilyn Monroe, and Moroccan Scott, after Cannon proposed to Carey in her Moroccan-style room, were born on April 30, 2011, the couple’s third wedding anniversary.

Britney Spears 

Who: Britney Spears, 30. The on-off troubled pop princess with a string of hits almost as famous as her personal crisis over the years.

Show: X Factor US – Season 2. Simon Cowell’s baby which hits all the right notes in the UK, but has still to prove itself in the US.

Ratings: 10 million average per show

Salary: Spears asked for $20 million but reportedly agreed to $15 million. Her fellow new X Factor judge Demi Lovato is taking home $1 million for her time on the show.

Grammy awards: 1

First performed: Spears was best known alongside Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera on the Disney Mickey Mouse Club.

Recording debut: Her debut album, Baby One More Time, was released in January 1999 and debuted at No 1 on the US Billboard 200. It was certified two-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America after a month.

Sales: Nielsen SoundScan ranked Spears the tenth best-selling digital artist in the US with more than 28.6 million digital singles as of January 2012. She has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide.

What will she bring: Drama. Or that’s the rumour anyway. Reports of Brit walking off stage, leaving the auditions in disgust and demands on producers have filled the papers in the past months. Something tells us the potential for conflict is exactly what Simon Cowell was after. Britney’s “awareness” rating is over 96, meaning that more than 96 per cent of people surveyed knew her by name or face. Her overall appeal stands at about 55 per cent, meaning people are fiercely divided over whether they like her or hate her. She’s perfect for a reality show star: Someone who is controversial. Someone you love, or love to hate. Britney delivers on all fronts.

Juggling relationships: From her marriage, divorce, quickie Vegas wedding, annulment and all the blokes in between Brit is finally in a stable relationship with her former agent Jason Trawick, He handed over a three-carat diamond ring, something Spears confirmed as an official engagement on December 16 last year. Although latest reports suggest the X Factor is putting “strain” on their personal life, Trawick and Brit will be close as he was negotiated as one of the producers for the season in Britney’s deal.

Career and kids: Six-year-old Preston and five-year-old Jayden will prove a handful while Brit films live auditions but media reports say huge riders are in place to help out.

What they say: Britney Spears is the tough new “mean” judge on The X Factor USA, according to her boss Simon Cowell. “I’ve always said that the one person I wanted to bring onto the show was Britney, because I was fascinated with her as a person and as a pop star. She’s a really, really good judge. And she’s quite mean, as you’ll discover.”

Fox president Kevin Reilly said of the new panel member: “I think you’re going to be surprised at how feisty she is. She’s tough. She knows what she’s doing, she’s been around and she’s seen it all.”

What she said: “I’m a huge fan of the show. Simon and LA better watch out!”

Christina Aguilera 

Who: Christina Aguilera, 31.

Show: The Voice US Season 3

Ratings: The Voice got a nice premiere boost with a Super Bowl lead-in of 17.7 million, but numbers took a nose-dive once the chair-turning part of the show was done. Up to 39 per cent less viewers each week.

Format: The series consists blind auditions, a battle phase, and live performance shows. Four judges/coaches, all noteworthy recording artists, choose teams of contestants through a blind audition process. Each judge has the length of the performance (about one minute) to decide if he or she wants that singer on his or her team; if two or more judges want the same singer (as happens frequently), the singer has the final choice of coach.

Salary: Before it was announced she would pick up $10 million for season three, rumour-mongers were wagging their tongues about how Aguilera’s “diva demands” had put in jeopardy her assignment as judge and coach. Obviously, not the case and we can only wonder what the dressing room demands really are.

What she will bring: Aguilera brings a feisty feminie touch to a show over-powered by male judges. She has a great sense of humour and nobody can argue she doesn’t have the skill and experience to mentor those who select to be in her team.

Grammy awards: 4 (plus one Latin Grammy award)

When we first saw her: Aguilera first appeared on television in 1990 as a contestant on Star Search and went on to star in Disney Channel’s television series The Mickey Mouse Club in 1993.

Recording debut: In 1999 she came to prominence following her debut album Christina Aguilera, which was a commercial success with Genie in a Bottle, What a Girl Wants and Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You).

Records sold: Aguilera’s albums sales are estimated at more than 50 million worldwide.

Juggling relationships: Having finalised her divorce with music marketing executive Jordan Bratman in 2011, Aguilera can thank her lucky stars for her new boyfriend, Burlesque set assistant Matthew Rutler, who appears to help out with her son Max whenever he can. “He recently surprised them by taking them to Cirque du Soleil’s Iris show,” a pal recently revealed. “They had a blast.”

Career and kids: Aguilera and Bratman have joint legal custody of four-year-old Max Liron Bratman, which she says “makes life easier”.

What she said: “The great thing about the show is even if you don’t win the end title, you’re just out there on such a massive scale where anything’s possible for your career even if you don’t make it to the end and actually become a winner.”