October 5th, 2009
04:33 PM ET

Mariah Carey: 'Imperfect' and fascinating

You learn a lot about diva-dom when you’re standing 10 feet away from a Mariah Carey performance, as I was Friday. Everything is done with extravagance: the lashes, the Christian Louboutin boots, the skin-tight dress revealing ample cleavage, the long tresses blowing in a gentle breeze provided by strategically placed fans. Check out the scene:

At one point, when Carey’s one-of-a-kind voice reached for the crescendo of Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is,” a sudden burst of gold streamers showered her and her backing choir.

Ridiculous? Well, sure. But it’s also spectacular.

From the moment Carey stepped onto the “Today” show stage in Rockefeller Center early on Friday morning to perform a few cuts from her new album, “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel,” her presence hit you like a perfumed hurricane. Fan or not, at close range Mariah Carey is utterly beguiling.

The best-selling female artist of the ‘90s, Carey has sold a whopping 160 million plus albums worldwide during the course of her impressive, if at times rocky, career. She also pulled off one of the most successful comebacks in music history, with her post-breakdown album “The Emancipation of Mimi” becoming the top seller of 2005 in the U.S.

And with the glow of her 18-month marriage to fellow singer Nick Cannon still obvious (they cuddled and kissed on stage after Friday’s set), as well as the positive reviews she’s getting for her acting role in the upcoming film “Precious,” Carey looked happy.

When we stepped onto her massive tour bus for an interview, it was clear she was a little drained from her “Today” performance, but she was perfectly pleasant and un-diva-like.

I was just getting Carey, who turns 40 next year, to talk about the significance of the word “imperfect” in her album title, when I was told to wrap it up.

Seriously? We were only 40 seconds into the interview.

Apparently the bus had overstayed its welcome on 49th Street, and the police outside were getting edgy. Mariah’s caravan had to push off.

Seconds after she shook my hand and said with sincerity that she wished we could’ve chatted longer, my cameraman and I found ourselves back on the street with scores of screaming fans.

Feeling slightly dejected, we watched as Carey’s chariot – all white and adorned with larger-than-life images of the same scantily clad Carey you see on her album cover – drove away.

No, Mariah isn’t perfect. And maybe that’s why we can’t stop looking.

soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. robert-cali

    To MIMI haters! why are you hating on mariah carey when oviously you go and buy other "singers" cds that cant even sing especially like a singer named whitney....... or something like that, i forgot her name, that havent even been out for a long time and then you would think that it would be "so" good, but yet no press about it or anything(BIG MISTAKE)!THE BEST singer in the world!NO ONE ELSE HOLD THAT TITLE SO, suk it up!#1AND WILL ALWAYS WILL BE! watch watcha say people because you buy "singers" cds that can't comeback!sorry no refunds!HELLO ALL LAMBS

    October 8, 2009 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jason


    To correct your point: she doesn't belt out on ANY song of the last 9 years. Whitney Houston had an amazing voice- but if you listen to her last 2 CDs, her voice sounds terrible. Every aging artists voice is expected to change a little bit, but replacing your exceptional voice with an auto-tuned piece of whispery garbage is not singing, it's not talent, and it's not acceptable as a fan. Clearly you are just as into Mariah now, as you were in the 90's when she had talent. However, you are clearly comfortable with mediocre music, whereas I expect more for my $19.99 per album, and $85 per concert ticket. I don't buy into the brand name just to say "I'm a fan of Mariah"- I'm more into the actual music the artists put out- brand name means nothing if the songs are terrible- and yes, every song on this new album is terrible. From the pathetic and desperate "Obsessed" to the failing "I want to know what love is", it's all bad.

    October 6, 2009 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |

    WOW PEOPLE! Way to be negative! No matter how you feel Mariah is fascinating to most people. And regardless if you buy her album, like her new way of singing, or if you wasted your time reading this article; she is still making money. I think the purpose of this article was to give us a Mariah Update. It was nice to read about her being happy and being reminded of how successful she is no matter what she goes through, instead of reading about her marriage or her feud with Eminem. He was doing his job. Don't take it so personally. If you didn't like the article than you didn't like it. You still wasted your time reading it. So the writer's mission was accomplished.

    October 6, 2009 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Elle

    I am a HUGE Mariah Carey fan, I've seen her everytime she's come to Chicago, her posters used to hang in my room when I was a teen, and of course I own all of her CDs..yet I STILL can't figure out why CNN would post this.

    October 6, 2009 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Britney...

    Deep breath people.
    Not the end of the world if you dont like the article.

    October 6, 2009 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. TJinCNJ

    All of her songs sound exactly the same. Her shrieking, squealing and attempts to show emotion are getting ridiculous. Its the same record, over and over, enough already Pariah Scary!

    October 6, 2009 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. gummybear

    :] i think shes to purdy for that door knob!!!

    October 6, 2009 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. jerrell stevens

    man y;all wildin out... be easy ppl lol

    October 6, 2009 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. mimichick

    I beg to differ....In case you didn't know, MIMI is that CHICK....Her work is an impressionable work of art...But the new CD, Memoirs....is truly awesome......It's classic Mariah with a twist.....

    October 6, 2009 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  10. Richie Rai

    I read this out of boredom and this crap gets me so angry. You make a huge income to report the news. I hope that you get canned for this kind of "professional journalism". You should be ashamed of yourself for exploiting the masses.

    October 6, 2009 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
  11. Christy Cruz

    I love CNN. I like Mariah Carey. Don't waste my time with crap like this. Why even post this "article?" My 4th grader writes more about what is being served at the cafeteria next week.

    October 6, 2009 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
  12. Lucinda

    I used to appreciate her talent, but it is overcome for me by her over-the top-self love. I'm glad she likes her breast implants, but it gets old after awhile. Nick seems like such a nice guy, but you can tell who Mariah thinks is no. 1: her.

    October 6, 2009 at 7:16 am | Report abuse |
  13. DillyRat

    Funny... Sarah didn't spell anything wrong... she just used the wrong word. Why is everyone so concerned about what Sarah wrote or how her spelling is blah blah blah!? I thought the idea was comment ON THE ARTICLE not rip into people who are entitled to their own opinions.
    Anyway, good for you, Mariah... It sounds like she has her act together and looks wonderful (as always)

    October 6, 2009 at 6:18 am | Report abuse |
  14. Juan Herrera Houston TX

    Like my Mom used to say, if you don't have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all! Stop being haters people, that's so last century. Negative attitudes and mindsets leads to heart attacks and cancer. Lighten up. Mariah is fierce and that's it. Period.

    October 6, 2009 at 5:00 am | Report abuse |
  15. Geoff of Houston

    And in other news, Bert and Earnie invited me to their bus to talk about their fame and fortune -

    October 6, 2009 at 3:05 am | Report abuse |
  16. Missy

    I used to make fun of Mariah, but then I got the chance to work with her a few years back as part of a backstage crew. I was nervous, mostly because she was the only real famous person I'd ever met (unless you count Colby from Survivor Australia). However, she was really sweet and not diva-like at all. She's busy, with reporters, management and other staff coming and going all the time – but as many hours as she would be working, she was never rude to any of us at all. Never asked for anything crazy like they say in the tabloids, and, she really does have an amazing voice. I consider myself lucky that I got to be there during a sound check and she was singing to with just a couple of other women and no music – her voice was amazing. She's a nice person with a great talent and I think she gets misjudged quite often.

    October 6, 2009 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
  17. OC

    we all need to get a life instead of reading about other people's (sigh).

    October 6, 2009 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
  18. Amy

    I heart Mariah. Keep up the divaliciousness, girl! I hope I look like that in 8 years!! When she had her meltdown, I just gained MORE respect for her. It showed she was human! The fact that she follows her heart with Nick makes me even more fond of her. The article sucked, but Mariah rocks! lol

    October 6, 2009 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  19. grand forks

    this is nonesense....as i am 🙂 chill people

    October 6, 2009 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  20. drea

    First of all Sarah, you might want to learn how to spell and use the correct word when you post a blog. The waist you used is around your mid-section, you should have used waste like you just wasted my time because I read your silly blog.

    October 5, 2009 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Tony

    Reporter is just relating his experience people. There is nothing wrong with this. I found it to be interesting in a simple kinda non-diva way.

    October 5, 2009 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Annie

    She's obviously done well over the years selling more than 160 million albums. I wish her continued success. Plus, she and her husband seem very happy. More power to her!

    October 5, 2009 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Edward

    I think "former fans" like Jason are still intrigued by Carey, and are deep inside desperately waiting for Carey to go back to her vocal style at the beginning of her career. Well, the voice has changed, so Carey had to pick a vocal style that suits the "new" voice. "Former fans" are just annoyed, but you can tell they still like her.

    As for Sarah, she is probabaly just an unfortunate kid (ugly? overweight? addicted? spelling-challenged?) who is angry at the world and releases the anger by reacting at just about anything she sees on the internet.

    This is the point of celebrities: They are there in all their perfection and humanity, for the rest of us to use for entertainment, and for this morbid fascination in wanting or causing their downfall so we can feel better about ourselves.

    Carey is probabaly very happy, and couldn't care less about lost, sad and lonely netizens who cannot function in the real world.

    October 5, 2009 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  24. POKO

    Mariah is a very talented artist. Nice to read she is doing well:) good entertainment piece. Thats what it is people, ENTERTAINMENT.

    October 5, 2009 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Joe


    Why does she have to "prove" anything to you? What, 6 studio albums, a Christmas album and a live album just didn't cut it for you? When she first came out, people said she was annoying because of her loud belting and high notes. Then they said she was annoying because her lyrics were lame. Now they are annoyed because she doesn't belt out on every song. But, the REAL fans stuck by her regardless. That doesn't mean you have to like or buy everything, but at least respect her for her hard work. While you like to listen to her yell and belt out like she did in her first albums, I prefer a mellow, more emotional Mariah. I hated "We Belong Together" and "Don't Forget About Us", but they were both huge hits for her. If she went and recorded an all belting ballad album next year, just because I don't like that and wouldn't buy it, I would still remain a fan and respect her for doing so. Most real fans would.

    October 5, 2009 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Leah

    I agree this article was a waste of time – there was no interview. However, if you took the time to read it, you were obviously intrigued by something about her, or you wouldn't have bothered to continue wasting your time by commenting.

    October 5, 2009 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Glenn

    Get over it! Dont read if you dont like it. Period.

    October 5, 2009 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Jason

    I think the best way I can say this is: I used to be a HUGE fan of Mariah Carey. However, I haven't purchased any of her albums since "Rainbow", and will most likely never purchase another album of hers in the future. This "whisper/falsetto" thing she does on every single song, on all 3 of her last albums, is annoying. Until she releases an album that proves that she can still sing, I am just going to stay in "former-fan" land.

    October 5, 2009 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Muffet

    Easy folks....I know she has a bit more talent than I do...

    October 5, 2009 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  30. the truth

    I'll tell you what the point is... all fakery and no substance! Just like mimoo's vocals; completely studio enhanced but sucks live except for the gimmicky appearance. Done!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Anthony

    I am a Mariah fan since 1990 and I will say that this article was a waste of time.. Of course you are going to read it cause you think its going somewhere, but this went no where. I am still left feeling like WTF!!!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Don

    Sounds like a couple of jealous people making comments to me !!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Andy

    Can't believe you wasted your time...probably at work....to read this article Sarah....then decided to comment asking what the point was....yet you read it......hmmm

    October 5, 2009 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Lori

    Sarah, you really need to learn to spell.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Javier

    What a stupid revision. I can t believe CNN is putting these kind of articles without any sence.

    October 5, 2009 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Linda

    Right on Sarah, she is just another singer, not the goddess she thinks she is.

    October 5, 2009 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Sarah

    Really? What was the point of this article? Complete waist of time, can't believe you got paid to write this

    October 5, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |

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