Divas are not always known for their generosity in sharing the spotlight let alone a stage with another diva, thus when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, the results can be thrilling, devastating or just a big letdown for all involved. So when Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera stormed the stage on The Voice season finale, laced up their Louboutin track heels and did runs all over “Do What U Want,” pearls were collectively clutched. Xtina’s never been known for being the most, shall we say, “diplomatic” of singers and has slung her fair share of shade at Gaga, but desperate times call for desperate measures. And the Beyocalypse is nigh. With rumors of yet another diva feud officially ended, let’s take a look back at some of the other diva duets that have brokered treaties and inspired countless drag queens over the years.
Hope you’re ready to take the top note, we’re belting out the 5 greatest diva duets of all time!
1. Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer – “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)”
Ugh. What was it like, foregays, hearing this gem float over the speakers at a disco for the first time? That gentle piano intro with the signature Babs hum. Babs comes in cooing about raining and pouring and her love life being boring when, who’s that? Queen of Disco Donna Summer (may she rest)! Okay, it’s a cute ballad but where are you taking us, ladies? And then Babs nails it for like 40 seconds and the beat drops in and everything is right with the world. Did the gays just flip the fuck out and start snatching wigs on the dancefloor? I ask because I flip the fuck out, especially when listening to the 10-min-plus 12″ disco mix — which should be the only way to listen to anything.
Also, this hair is laid like Bianca Jagger on a white horse at 54:
2. Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey – “When You Believe”
Like all divas confronted with a younger, newer version of themselves, Whitney (may she rest) was long-rumored to have a rivalry with/vendetta against upstart colortura soprano Mariah Carey. Both ladies denied it:
But of course the best way to squash any feud is with a big old, Oscar-winning ballad. Despite their combined star wattage, the song was only a moderate hit, but it remains one of the signature diva duets and also a lesson in diva dynamics, lest we forget their show-stopping performance at the 1999 Oscars. Mimi does her best to keep up, and while Nippy may have most likely been half in the bag at the time, she was in there pulling out an endless supply of vocal tricks. Mariah knew her place and took a seat at the altar of greatness.
And that’s what we call paying respect. #bowdown
3. Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand – “Get Happy/Happy Days Are Here Again”
A diva duet can represent a ceremonial passing of the torch, as when a barely coherent but still on her A-game Judy Garland (may she rest) invited bright young star of tomorrow Barbra Streisand on her show in 1963.
After some snappy banter — which no one does anymore, btdubz — the two did a now iconic “mash-up” (as the Glee kids would say and sing) of their respective signature tunes. Streisand was nominated for an Emmy (her first) for her appearance on the show and later included this live version on her 2002 Duets album. No tea, no shade but not even Broadway LEGENDS Audra McDonald and Patti Lupone can hold a candle to Babs and Judy. They’re the greatest gay icons for a reason, kids.
4. Brandy and Monica – “The Boy Is Mine”
When two junior divas join forces, the results can be powerful. Brandy and Monica had both emerged onto the R&B scene around the same time in the mid-90s, and with rumors of a rivalry brewing between them, Brandy thought this song would shed some light on all that shade. It didn’t; in fact it just made their rivalry that much worse, but dammit, was it a hit! “The Boy Is Mine” had a chokehold on my adolescence and the Billboard Hot 100 — when that actually meant something: 13 weeks at number one, a Grammy, millions sold, and a disappointing Glee cover. What else do you need? Over a decade later, and now actually friends, the pair tried to recapture the magic (without the animosity) with “It All Belongs to Me,” but it couldn’t possibly live up to the original. We did get them blowing up a car, though, which is a nice consolation prize:
5. Beyoncé and Lady Gaga – “Telephone”
Bey was well on her way to being named Supreme of this and any other coven back in 2009 when she invited up-and-comer Stefanie Germanotta on her remix to “Video Phone.” Bey then returned the favor with a Diva Assist on Gaga’s “Telephone.” The song was originally intended for one Britney Jean Spears, but in another in a series of bad decisions, Spears rejected it. What was Britney’s loss was the world’s gain. Bey effectively gave her seal of approval on the Lady, only to then proceeded to show her up at every turn. But that’s what happens when you invite Beyoncé anywhere.
It’s a double-edged sword. Still, the single was a big, fat fucking hit and the video remains a high mark for both.
Notable Diva/Divo Duets
In the spirit of gender equality, here are the greatest opposite-sex diva duets:
1. Diana Ross and Lionel Ritchie – “Endless Love”
2.Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson – “Scream”
3. Aretha Franklin and George Michael – “I Knew You Were Waiting (for Me)”
4. Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond – “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”
5. Madonna and Prince – “Love Song”