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VH1 Divas tonight: Five reasons you should watch

EW was on the scene at last night’s taping of VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul (airing tonight at 9 p.m. ET). In addition to talking to the Divas — including repeat performers Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Jill Scott, Kelly Clarkson, plus Jessie J and Florence + the Machine’s Florence Welch — we narrowed down exactly why the 13-year-old institution is still worth checking out. Below, five reasons to tune into tonight’s special. READ FULL STORY

December's 'VH1 Divas' adds Chaka, Eryka, Estelle, and -- yes -- some boys

Divas, make way! VH1 has added a bevy of other ladies — and, yes, some dudes, too — to the line-up for its annual special VH1 Divas, including Chaka Kahn (pictured here), Erykah Badu, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Estelle, Marsha Ambrosius. The non-diva entities –i.e. those who have a Y chromosome — added include Boyz II Men and Travie McCoy.

The seven new acts join the previously announced divas, which include Kelly Clarkson, Mary J. Blige, Florence Welch, Jennifer Hudson, Jessie J, and Jill Scott. The Roots will serve as the house band for the engagement.

VH1 Divas will celebrate soul this year, honoring so-called “soulful cities” — Chicago, Detroit, London, Memphis, and Philadelphia — that inspired the participating divas and their art. The special airs Monday, Dec. 19, at 9 p.m. on VH1.

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

The Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix

Read more:
‘VH1 Divas': See Kelly Clarkson’s promotional poster — EXCLUSIVE
Kelly Clarkson, Mary J. Blige, Florence Welch, and Jennifer Hudson to headline this year’s ‘VH1 Divas’

Prince rocks Madison Square Garden: The superstar serenades Leighton Meester and gets a dance assist from Jimmy Fallon

I was a Prince concert virgin before last night and, now, I’m not really sure how I’ve lived the last 31 years without seeing the purple-lovin’ icon perform live. The tiny superstar, currently in the midst of his “Welcome 2 America” tour, was redonkulously good. He had the Madison Square Garden crowd on their feet for almost the entire show. I’m always so happy when small people are able to succeed—it gives me hope. Prince performed a whole slew of his greatest hits, including “Purple Rain” and “Rasberry Beret” (sadly my fave Prince jam, “Seven,” was not featured). He was accompanied by a slammin’ live band as well as three back-up singers who I named “NeNe Leakes,” “Stevie Knicks,” and “Grace Jones” due to their similarities to each of those lovely ladies. And then there where the Twins: Prince had twin female back-up dancers/singers who resembled Nicole Scherzinger and were clad in skin-tight ensembles, many of which included sequins. Needless to say, I was obsessed with them. Look for me to push for them to make a cameo on Glee. I’m gonna make these ladies happen!

Prince also had some celebrity assistance last night. Best of all was when he brought up Gossip Girl‘s Leighton Meester from the audience and serenaded her with “I Love You But I Don’t Trust You Anymore.” Then, Meester walked off with his sweat towel which was a tad gross but oddly sweet. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, who opened for the singer, dueted on Prince’s hit, “A Love Bizarre,” with Jones taking the Sheila E. part. Towards the end of the show, Prince did a rollicking cover of “Dance (Disco Heat)” and brought up a slew of people from the audience to dance onstage, including Meester and talk show host Jimmy Fallon.

For those of you Music Mix-ers who are in New York, there’s one more show on Feb. 7th. You must go! Who knows what other Gossip Girl castmember Prince will pull up on stage?!? That alone is worth the price of admission!

More on EW.com:
Cee-Lo says official ‘F**K You’ duet with Gwyneth Paltrow is on the way
Cake’s sweet new album is No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart

Newport Folk Festival 2010 lineup announced: Steve Martin, Swell Season, Jim James, Levon Helm, Brandi Carlile, Sharon Jones, and tons more

The lineup for the 51st annual Newport Folk Festival was just announced, and it’s a good one. Folk fans who head to Newport, R.I. this July 30-31 and Aug. 1 will get to see acts like Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin), playing banjo with bluegrass quintet the Steep Canyon Rangers; Once duo the Swell Season; the Band’s Levon Helm, bringing his legendary Midnight Ramble on the road; Yim Yames, a.k.a. frontman Jim James of My Morning Jacket; Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, who killed it per usual at SXSW last week; alt-country wailer Brandi Carlile, who just released a cool new video; Richie Havens, who is as awesome today as he was at Woodstock 41 years ago; skilled whistler Andrew Bird; Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, who is Pete Seeger’s grandson and a talented singer in his own right; and lots more folkies old and young.

Click through to the jump for all the performers who have been announced so far for George Wein’s Newport Folk Festival. Tickets go on sale at newportfolkfest.net this Friday, March 26. Will you be buying ‘em?
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'Dark Was the Night' at Radio City Music Hall: Bon Iver steals the show

Boniver_lThe National’s Aaron and Bryce Dessner and Red Hot Organization’s John Carlin have plenty to be proud of. Their years of hard work not only produced Dark Was the Night, a 31-track double album featuring brand-new songs from some of the biggest names in indie rock (including Bon Iver, pictured), but also a terrific benefit concert last night at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. (At the show, Carlin said they have collectively raised over $10 million benefitting HIV/AIDS awareness and research.) So, how was last night’s concert? In a word: fantastic. In another word: collaborative. Click through the jump for an artist-by-artist breakdown of the night’s festivities.

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