ACHIEVEMENTS Touted as the “best-selling female artist of all time,” the 44-year-old singer-songwriter-producer has released 14 albums, delivered 18 No. 1 singles and collected a shelf full of awards, including five Grammys. On January 15, Carey announced an 18-date residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, picking up (along with Reba McEntire and Brooks & Dunn) where Celine Dion left off. “She’s a huge get,” says music critic Nancy Dunham, who contributes to USA Today. “Mariah has an incredible chart history and, for good or bad, the tabloid reports about her personal life have increased her exposure.” The residency—which will be tailored around her No. 1 hits and promoted as Mariah Carey’s #1’s—begins May 6, continues throughout May and resumes in July.
WELCOME TO THE STAGE Since the beginning of her career, Carey has had a complicated relationship with performing live. She didn’t tour until her third album, leading some to wonder if her impressive voice was manufactured in the studio. More recently, an October concert in Japan garnered jeers (TMZ said it was “painful to watch”), although Carey claimed to have bronchitis. Two months later, Carey made headlines with a disastrous Christmas tree-lighting performance in Rockefeller Center; even CNN said she “seemed winded and had trouble hitting some of her trademark high notes.” So how will Carey handle the ongoing pressure of a residency? Worst-case scenario, she can always go the Britney Spears route: backing tracks.
A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME? Nightclubs still reign as one of the primary magnets for tourist dollars in this city. But as that market becomes saturated and clubgoers mature, Carey’s show has the potential to help ease the transition back to traditional Strip entertainment. Sure, she is famous for middle-of-the-road adult-contemporary songs, but the pop star draws her musical influences from a wider range of sources, including hip-hop, soul and R&B.
A COLOSSAL TALENT
Even though it will be Carey’s first long-term gig in Las Vegas, she’s played the Colosseum twice before, during 2003’s Charmbracelet World Tour and 2010’s Angels Advocate Tour. “Mariah can put on a great, theatrical show, and she’s released some great R&B and pop music,” says Rolling Stone music critic Nick Murray. “So [this residency] might be a lot of fun.”