The diva of divas
Hello again queers, hope you are all enjoying the New Year. We brought 2013 in, in the best way possible, with the one and only Mariah Carey. Her phenomenal Sydney show proved to us that that she is one of the greatest gay icons of all time. Her performance was a lesson in divadom, and many of her antics reflected the queer story.
She opened with ‘Can’t Take that Away’, and closed with ‘Hero’, these two songs are basically gay anthems. At their heart they express the same sentiment – that all of the struggles we face are just a precursor to finding our true strength in who we are, or as Mariah puts it “the hero within”. This sentiment has been expressed by all the great gay icons before her, with songs like Judy Garland’s ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’, Diana Ross’ ‘I’m Coming Out’, or anything on the Queer as Folk soundtrack.
To perform the ballad ‘Close My Eyes’, Mariah sat on a chaise lounge under a blanket while pictures from her childhood faded in and out of focus on the big screen. Mariah was showing us that she had the same ordinary childhood that we all had, but she managed to turn out extraordinary. All of us grew up in an environment saturated with heterosexual values, but we managed to ignore them and believe in who we are to become the fabulous babes we are today.
The way she sat on that chaise lounge and strutted around the stage while her all male back-up troupe did all the dancing was also pretty queer, she was basically overthrowing patriarchy. She didn’t need to imitate sex on the dance floor in compromising outfits because she is Mariah Carey. She stood her ground and let her voice be the centrepiece of the show while her back-up dancers were the only ones who could be objectified. And this wasn’t the only way she reversed gender roles. One of her opening acts was husband Nick Cannon, who is 11 years her junior. We all know every good gay icon has a toy boy, or two.
We haven’t even described the sheer campiness of the show yet. Mariah did four costume changes; they were all sparkly mini dresses. The light show included imagery of butterflies, candy love hearts, flashing cameras, backstage globes and a full moon. Everything was so overtly girly and saccharine that it left naturally feminine territory and entered the valley of manufactured camp. But we love this about Mariah. Who else is going to give us epically girly film clips like those for ‘Touch My Body’ and ‘We Belong Together’, apart from maybe Adam Lambert.
Even though she is not gay herself, she is still a strong and proud gay voice and we can’t wait to hear more from her this year. She’ll be judging on American Idol season 12 and releasing an album in May. Just call her name and she’ll be there, anytime you need a friend.