Aretha Franklin Gets 'Diva' Special

Aretha Franklin, one of the most celebrated singers in pop history, made a sensation when she appeared with Mariah Carey and Celine Dion on the first VH1 Divas Live special in 1998. This time around, the Queen of Soul will command the spotlight.

Though the supporting cast has not been named for Divas Live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin, Franklin has her own ideas about who may join her at the April 10 live broadcast from New York's Radio City Music Hall.

"Billy Dee Williams," she says. "And I understand that he is confirmed. And Carlos Santana. And, who else? Mary J. Blige. I understand that they are speaking or going to be speaking with Mary J.'s people. I would love to see Arthur Mitchell and his medium-sized group or his large group. So, we're going to have a good time at the Radio City Music Hall. Do not miss it."

Channel Surfing Diva

But when she takes the stage, don't imagine that the ritzy glitter is part of the everyday life of a diva.

"I get up and I watch the soaps — The Young and the Restless, and The Bold and the Beautiful," the 17-time Grammy winner explains. "And I scream at the TV for about a half an hour at what I don't like. And, then I get something on the stove, something cooking, a little cleanup, and kick back and relax if I don't have work to do."

Free time is rare these days, however, as she balances the coming Divas special with a planned gig at the Metropolitan Opera House, a coming tour in Florida, and a Feb. 14 benefit concert for Detroit's Music Hall Center.

Headlining shows, accepting constant praise, and still catching time for the soaps — is it the winning formula for a diva?

"Well, 'diva' conjures up all sorts of things," Franklin says. "If you go to page, I think it is, maybe about page 170 in my autobiography, it will tell you all about divas."

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