This article was published on January 14th, 2019
Mirror mirror on the wall…who were the fiercest divas of them all? From talent to personality and everything in between, not everyone can be classified as a diva, and certainly not many as the “top 10” most diva-like divas of them all. Though it wasn’t easy, assembled below is a composite list of the top ten entertainment divas that have ever lived—or at least in the last 100 years. In no particular order, here are the top 10 divas.
Elton John.The platform shoes. The wild sunglasses. The tantrums against the press. And some of the best music of the last century. Miss Elton John makes the top 10 lists of Divas because he has graced us with his art for more than 50 years and we still can’t get enough of one of the first out LGBT pop stars. If it weren’t for Elton John, there would never have been the Lion King—new version or old.
Cher.Cher might just be the queen mother DIVA of them all, now that Aretha is gone. Even in her 70s, Cher is starring in hit movies (Mama Mia 2) and put out a new album Dancing Queen, covering legendary ABBA songs. Actress, singer, fashion icon, philanthropist, and mother of Chaz, Cher has solidified herself at the top of the Divas hall of fame for her 6 decades in the spot light.
Aretha Franklin.Very few female artists would be where they are today without the life of legendary singer and performer Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul won 20 Grammies, and was featured on the Billboard Hot 100 more than 70 times. The first female entered into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Aretha Franklin has been repeatedly called the greatest female singer of all time by numerous sources, including Rolling Stone magazine. Singer, songwriter, actress, and pioneer for women and black female performers, who could forget Aretha’s rendition of “(You make me feel like a) Natural Woman” where she threw her floor length fur to the floor in a moment of divalicious dramatics.
Freddie Mercury. Possibly the single greatest loss of artistic talent during the AIDS crisis, Freddie Mercury was more than just the outrageous front man for the band Queen. He brought an androgynous yet fearless persona to the stage that transcended sexuality and the overt toxic masculinity that ran rampant throughout the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Mercury bucked society and helped solidify glam rock as a formidable era in music history. In death, he put a face on the HIV/AIDS epidemic and a spotlight on the toll it was taking on the queer community.
Madonna.The queen of pop has seen many evolutions in her 35+ year career. Ever the chameleon, Madonna’s single greatest talent has always been the ability to be true to herself while delivering a product she knew her audience would want. A diva for the ages who has always flipped the bird to convention, she thrust female sexuality and feminism to the forefront of popular conversation. An actress, fashion icon, humanitarian, and conceivably the biggest pop star in the world, Madonna has outlasted many of her contemporaries and still continues to push the envelope with her career and creativity.
Mariah Carey.Now that Whitney and Aretha are gone, there really is only one “the voice” singer left…ARIANA GRANDE! LOL. In all seriousness, Mariah is thediva of divas and still has one of the best voices out there—when she chooses to use it. Who could forget her repeated appearances where she just couldn’t give a shit? Her enthusiasm during her performances wanes depending on her mood, and she’ll either check her attitude at the door or check out before the show has begun. But with more #1 singles than anyone other the Beatles, Mariah Carey is still the highest selling female artist of all time. And that damn Christmas song will always keep her near to our hearts. Every.Single.Time.It’s.Played.
Donna Summer.The Queen of Disco, Donna Summer had us toot tootin’ and beep beepin’ for 35 years in the music industry, and will always reign supreme as who everyone thinks of when they think of the disco music era. Her sounds were revolutionary and her early disco recordings are some of the most influential pop songs in history. The first female artist to have five top five singles in the same consecutive year, and the first to have three consecutive #1 double album records, Donna Summer was the recipient of 5 Grammies throughout her lifetime. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a year after her death in 2013.
Celine Dion.Canada’s own Celine Dion was born in Quebec and got her start in the music world at age 16. She first reached international acclaim in 1988 when she sang the winning song for Switzerland in that year’s Eurovision song contest. Since then, she has sold more than 200 million copies of her albums and has just concluded a five-year run at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas: a show that earned $385 million. Also a winner of five Grammies, everyone might remember Celine Dion for “My Heart Will Go On” from the movie, Titanic. But Celine has proved she is a prized diva that still has what it takes to pack the house.
Diana Ross.Like Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross helped paved the way for single female performers and female African-American singers in pop music. Originally a member of the most successful girl’s group at the time, The Supremes, Diana Ross went on to act and sing on her own. In the press as much for her personal life as with her performance life, Diana Ross is one of the most successful female artists of all time. Nominated for an Academy Award, she is a Tony and Grammy winner, she was the first female solo artist to release 6 #1 pop singles, like a diva boss lady.
Barbara Streisand. No other artist alive has ever had #1 records in 6 consecutive decades other than Barbara Streisand, a feat she achieved in 2014 with her latest duet album, Partners. Barbara Streisand has sold nearly 300 million records worldwide, and has had 33 top 10 albums and 52 albums certified gold. The winner of two Academy Awards, 9 Grammies, and 4 Emmys, her musical career spans more than 50 years and continues to grow. Barbara Streisand is currently ranked third for the most #1 albums by a single artist. Actress, producer, director—there’s little in the entertainment industry that Barbara Streisand hasn’t done.
What divas do you think that should make the list? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.