Mariah Carey gives fans the diva they love
The Queen has more competition on the Strip nowadays, but if you think Mariah Carey will ever betray concern at the notion that any other Las Vegas headliners are in her league then you are clearly not a “lamb” superfan. Lambs make sure there’s nary an empty seat when Carey, dubbed the Queen of Christmas by celebrity press scribes, holds court at Caesars Palace during her 8 p.m. The Butterfly Returns residency. Carey rules the realm of the Colosseum five times this month, her first shows there since the well-received 2018 edition of her holiday concert tour and release of her critically acclaimed album Caution in November.
Likely, the only question on the lambs’ minds is whether or not their regal monarch will add her eighth No. 1 single, “With You,” to the setlist. Carey returns to a Las Vegas where Queen Mother Celine Dion has retired from regular Palace appearances. Lady Gaga and Dame Gwen Stefani are newly part of the royal family with respective residencies at Park MGM and Planet Hollywood Resort, and Christina Aguilera: The Xperience opens inside Planet Hollywood’s Zappos Theater May 31. The competition is stiff, and the only practical way to rank them is by attending them all and estimating the decibel level of audience reactions.
To find out whether you’re a lamb, a simple test is to search the Internet for current setlists of Strip headliners, maybe add Dion and Jennifer Lopez, and see if Carey’s is the one resonates with the soundtrack of your own life.
For Carey, that soundtrack kicked off at her 2018 Butterfly shows with “Honey,” which peaked at No. 1 in 1997. Early set magic included “Shake It Off” and “Make it Happen” before she turned to her transformative 1995 album Daydream for “Fantasy” and “Always Be My Baby.” Then Carey reached way back to her debut single and first No. 1, “Vision of Love,” and “Emotions” from her 1991 album of the same name.
It’s almost a no-brainer that she’ll add “With You,” which reached No. 4 after she performed the lead single from Caution for the first time in October at the American Music Awards. Carey’s 15th studio album reached the Top Five in December and received accolades across the spectrum of music publications. Maura Johnston of Pitchfork wrote that it celebrated “her ultimate-diva status by sticking to her core pop-soul aesthetic,” while Billboard called it “the reality of the holiday season: intimate, bittersweet, personal and fleeting” and celebrated Carey with a two-word opening sentence: “She’s back.”
She’s back from closing autumn tour dates in Asia with “All I Want for Christmas Is You” before touring Europe with her full holiday show. She’s back on top of the singles chart for the first time since 2008’s “Touch My Body.” She’s back in a Celine Dion-less Colosseum, where down the street Aguilera prepares to compete with one of her biggest singing influences, but as far her lambs are concerned, Carey is never gone.
Caesars Palace, 8 p.m. Feb. 13, 15-16, 19 & 21, starting at $55 plus tax and fee. 866.227.5938