Mariah - bigger than Jesus?

Monday 1 November 1999

Mariah Carey has long been a diva, but it may be time to elevate her to a deity. Given her recent activities, it would appear that only God could maintain a similar schedule - making sudden, dramatic appearances on the street and in the sky, performing good works, and promoting a new album. Maybe Mariah is actually busier than the Almighty: God hasn't cut an album yet - unless you count the Pope's recorded efforts. Carey's long-awaited new album, Rainbow, will be released on Tuesday November 2, and she's celebrating its release with a whirlwind promotional tour which Columbia Records has dubbed "Rainbow Across America." Twenty lucky - and soon to be exhausted - fans who have won radio station competitions will accompany Carey on a three-day trek across the country in a private 737 jet.
Carey has been, pardon the expression, flying high these days. Her latest single, "Heartbreaker," is also a record breaker. She recently bested the Beatles for the number of weeks an artist has spent at No. 1 on the Billboard charts over the course of a career. She's also closing in on the record in terms of number of hits. "Heartbreaker" is her 14th No. 1. The Beatles had 20, Elvis 17 (or 18, if you count his double-sided 45, "Don't Be Cruel"/"Hound Dog" as two separate hits). Elvis is still king insofar as weeks on the charts: he spent 79 weeks at No. 1. But Carey's certainly made her mark.
Before Air Mariah takes off, the singer plans to take to the streets of Manhattan on Monday to launch her album with a free live performance. But as anyone who has had to deal with the tangled bureaucracy of present-day New York City knows, loud, traffic-stopping outdoor events require a lot of paperwork. And apparently the CBS television network, which was hoping to broadcast Carey's appearance for the premiere of its Bryant Gumbel-hosted morning series, The Early Show, didn't get all the paperwork done in time. On Wednesday evening, Carey cancelled her appearance, when it looked like the network might not get the go-ahead to shut down Fifth Avenue at 59th Street. That was good news for late-sleeping guests at the Plaza Hotel, located at that corner, where Carey was supposed to perform between 7 and 9 am, but bad news for the network, which was inaugurating its new Fifth Avenue studio.
Within an hour of Carey's cancellation, her publicists announced she would perform instead on Monday on NBC's The Today Show, which had already mounted a series of outdoor performances this summer in the more cloistered setting of Rockefeller Center.
"Life goes on," commented Early Show executive producer Steve Friedman. In Murphy's Law-like fashion, The Early Show did obtain the necessary permits - after Carey switched networks. Carey was more concerned about the gig itself than its spot on the TV dial: "All I care about is performing in the street in my hometown for my fans."
That's not really all she cares about these days. Carey also announced that she was the buyer of Marilyn Monroe's white baby grand piano, which was part of a blockbuster auction of Monroe artifacts at Christie's Manhattan headquarters earlier this week. Christie's had originally declined to identify the buyer who had paid $662,500 for the instrument, but Carey finally revealed to the New York Post that it was her - and that she had no intention of letting the piano go to anyone else. Carey described the piano as "the most sentimental item" in the sale and explained: "That piano was her mom's. In her biography there's a whole story about how Marilyn spent years trying to find it and get it back. Now I'm gonna take good care of it." She added she hopes the piano will one day "end up in a museum."
One final, and sentimental, Carey-related celebration also took place in Manhattan this week, where only the Yankees - the World Series-winning team of Mariah's former beau, Derek Jeter - have caused as much commotion. Two young sisters, Serena and Skaila, who had been languishing in New York City foster care, found a permanent home with Long Island woman Diana Angulo, who had first seen the children in a public service spot that Carey had filmed in 1998. Carey had hoped to attend the adoption celebration at Serendipity 3, home of Manhattan's best hot fudge sundaes, but work on an upcoming TV special prevented her from coming.
Carey will return to the television airwaves some time during the week of November 8, when she will be a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Although she hasn't actually taped her spot yet, that hasn't stopped label publicists from describing it as "a highly compelling one-hour appearance." She will also perform at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Dublin on November 11; there, Carey is nominated as Best R&B act. You go - and go and go - girl.


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