Saturday, Jan. 10, 2009 | 10:40 a.m.
Beyond the Sun
Diana Ross has still got it -- the pipes, the presence and the diva personality -- and she proved it late Friday during a performance at Monster Cable’s Retailer Awards.
The event was held at the Paris hotel in conjunction with the annual Consumer Electronics Show.
Ross appeared onstage after the awards had been given out, just before 11 p.m. As the legendary pop icon began her set, eager fans lined the aisles of the Paris ballroom to get a clear view of the star.
The Queen of Motown made her grand entrance wearing an elaborate scarlet-colored ensemble anchored by a full-length red sequins gown that sparkled like a thousand rubies when Ross stepped into the spotlight.
As Ross confidently strode onstage she dazzled the crowd with a rendition of her 1980 hit, “I’m Coming Out.”
Ross, however, wasn’t the only legend in the room: Stevie Wonder and Gladys Knight also were there to take in the performance.
The former Supremes lead signer zigzagged across the stage and maintained an energetic stage presence that defied her 64 years. Ross appeared to enjoy the limelight and smiled for the handful of eager photographers who snapped pictures as she performed.
When the camera bulbs continued to flash into the fourth song, however, Ross quickly laid down the law.
She had hardly begun “Stop! In the Name of Love” before she quit singing and demanded the shutterbugs shutter their cameras for good.
The diva spoke directly to the photographers and demanded they stop taking pictures. She suggested one fan put his camera away and instead use his camera phone to take pictures instead.
The bizarre but brutally honest display shocked many members in the audience. Across the ballroom fans exchanged puzzled glances as they witnessed the singer scold the camera-toting assailants from her perch atop the stage.
Meanwhile, her five-piece band and two backup vocalists did their best to fill the lead vocal gap and complete the song.
Once satisfied that the offending cameras were stifled, Ross continued on as if the confrontation had never taken place. She launched into “Love Don’t Come Easy,” followed by “Touch Me in the Morning.”
Fans seemed to quickly forget the exchange and soon resumed bobbing their heads and tapping their toes to the music.
Ross experienced a minor wardrobe malfunction midway into her set as she attempted to change into a stunning, shimmering silver gown. The diva escaped the minor mishap unscathed, unfazed and unembarrassed, however, and once again continued the show.
The Monster Cable Retailer Awards is one of the biggest events on the CES party circuit. Admission is generally limited to Monster Cable’s retail partners and is by invitation only.
Past performers at the annual soirée include Mary J. Blige, Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart, B.B. King, Ray Charles, James Brown, and Crosby, Stills and Nash.