Review: ‘Born to Diva’

VH1 gets on the "American Idol" bandwagon to select a participant for its annual "VH1 Divas" concert in Las Vegas, and judging from the first go-round, it's getting hit with a lot of not-ready-for-primetime talent. First segment, staged in Miami, whittles down a cattle call to 10 and then to five for a showcase and an interview with Gloria Estefan.

VH1 gets on the “American Idol” bandwagon to select a participant for its annual “VH1 Divas” concert in Las Vegas, and judging from the first go-round, it’s getting hit with a lot of not-ready-for-primetime talent. First segment, staged in Miami, whittles down a cattle call to 10 and then to five for a showcase and an interview with Gloria Estefan. Of the five, three sing off-key and only one has any command of the stage. VH1 better hope Sony Music execs Ron Grant and Ken Komisar have better luck in their other search cities — Philadelphia, London, New York and Atlanta — or they’re looking at “Burned by Divas.”

The first project with Tommy Mottola’s name on it since his departure from the top office at Sony Music, series is a wake-up call to the fact divas are made and not necessarily born. Show high-steps it through the initial screening process, giving few examples of the female singers who clicked and those who belong nowhere near a microphone. Bulk of the debut is spent on the quintet’s final, dolled-up perfs, which follows the de rigueur setup of personalities: One’s an over-confident, ego-centric ADD patient; one offers motherly support; another is overly emotional.

After a contestant is selected from each city, the five finalists will go through a weeklong Diva Boot Camp in New York, followed by a perf for Mottola. Contestant pool will be cut to three, at which time VH1.com Netizens will vote for the diva who will get to appear on the “Divas Duets” special May 22. If nothing else, VH1 has created a superb advertising vehicle for its May concert special.

Born to Diva

Reality series; VH1, Mon. April 28, 10 p.m.

Production

Taped in Miami by VH1 and Bunim-Murray. Executive producers, Tommy Mottola, George Moll, Kim Rozenfeld, Julio Kollerbom, Mary-Ellis Bunim, Jonathan Murray; co-executive producer, Julie Pizzi; director, Rico Martinez. 30 MIN.

Cast

Talent scouts: Ron Grant, Ken Komisar. Judges: Cory Rooney, Gloria Estefan, Patti LaBelle, Kelly Rowland, Lisa Stansfield, T-Boz, Chilli.
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