Mariah Carey, January 3
Allphones Arena, Sydney, Australia
Well, the diva has turned into a downer.
The blurb promised a night of greatest hits and holiday songs from one of the greatest female voices of our time, performing in Australia 14 years after her last visit.
She's the original pop diva - famous for requesting all white foods, climbing the charts with soaring pop songs about love and scooting around in glittery mini-dresses with windswept hair.
But Mariah has become a caricature of herself - and not in a lovable Dolly Parton kind of way.
On stage in Sydney, the diva qualities had morphed into something stranger and flatter.
Mariah seemed too absorbed to give us much at all. She hobbled around the stage in heels, escorted by mystery males, touched her hair incessantly and disappeared backstage three times while back-up dancers and singers entertained a yawning crowd.
She sat on a chaise with a blanket to sing Close My Eyes.
She brought half a band (despite charging up to $190 for tickets) that coated everything with the same bland sound.
She flailed amid poorly refined production with awkward silences, unrehearsed lighting, uneven levels and a backdrop of graphics more suited to a 1998 Windows screensaver than a multi-million-dollar worldwide tour.
She barely sang into the microphone and instead left the incredible vocal acrobatics of Shake It Off and My All to fade into the ether.
And, to top it off, she didn't even play the hits! Oh Mariah. You're killing us here.
We Belong Together, her final offering, was a glimpse of ecstasy; an eleventh-hour atonement. Windswept hair, big-bang lighting, show-stopping vocals, perhaps even a bead of sweat on her brow as she belted out the lyrics sung into many a hairbrush.
The rest was dated, shallow and unsatisfying.
Most galling was the fact her voice was still phenomenal. It was still in there somewhere but for reasons unknown the diva didn't want to let it out.
- Sydney Morning Herald