Divas Celebrate Soul with VH1

VH1’s struggling franchise “VH1 Divas” paid tribute to great cities of soul music last night with powerhouse performances from Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Jennifer Hudson, Florence + The Machine, Jessie J. and Kelly Clarkson.

In addition to the main divas, there were also performances from Chaka Khan, Erykah Badu, Ledisi, Estelle and many others.

The night kicked off with a rousing medley of soulful reworks of “You Keep Me Hanging On,” “Spotlight,” “Real Love,” and “Since U Been Gone” performed by respective divas Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige and Kelly Clarkson. Mavis Staples, Erykah Badu and Chaka Kahn then stopped the show with a high-spirited rendition of “I’ll Take You There.” Other highlights include Florence Welch with a barefoot performance of “Walking on Broken Glass” and Chaka Khan and Mary J. Blige dueting on “Ain’t Nobody.”

One of the night’s major highlights included a special tribute to Amy Winehouse and her contribution to modern London soul music. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings and rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson performed “You Know I’m No Good,” and Florence Welch performed “Back to Black.” The Dap-Kings contributed a number of tracks for Winehouse’s Grammy Award-winning album “Back to Black.” In addition, Nas, who collaborated with Winehouse on the first single of her current posthumous album, introduced the tribute medley.

As in previous years, this edition of “VH1 Divas” benefits the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of music education in the lives of children.

“VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul” will air Monday, December 19 at 9 PM/8c on VH1, of course.