Celine Dion’s snub on Rolling Stone’s list of top singers angered fans and sparked debate

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Celine Dion performs at the Videotron Center in Quebec City on September 18, 2019 Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

For many Celine Dion fans, it is unthinkable that a list of the world’s best singers does not mention the powerful singer from Quebec.

And so they bombarded Rolling Stone for days for not including the inimitable chanteuse in its recent list of the 200 Greatest Singers, led by Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Sam Cooke.

The clickbait collection clearly provoked Dion’s followers, and it’s hard to imagine it was designed to do so, said Angela Misri, an assistant professor of journalism.

“It encourages new conversation and engagement, which is great for anything you put online,” said Misri, who teaches at Toronto Metropolitan University and herself compiled year-end digital lists during her tenure at CBC and The Walrus.

“You want people to read it, but then you really want people to talk about it. And everyone talks about it. They all go and click on that list to see, ‘What do you mean Celine isn’t on it? What is going on? Who else isn’t there?” Dion’s exclusion from Sunday’s article titled “The Greatest 200 Singers of All Time” particularly angered fans in Quebec, who expressed disbelief and disappointment at what they saw as a snub. for the “My Heart Will Go On” hitmaker.

Pierre Karl Peladeau, the president and chief executive officer of media and telecommunications company Quebecor Inc., shared an article Monday about the list and asked Rolling Stone: “What’s the matter with you!?!?!?”

Elsewhere in the country, singer and actress Jann Arden tweeted: “Celine Dion should be on this list. Point.”

Meanwhile, music journalist Carl Wilson, whose book Let’s Talk About Love explored his distaste for Dion, acknowledged the difficulty of coming up with a definitive list but also hinted that there were more.

“Celine’s omission suggests that he might still survive; If anywhere, no wonder it’s Rolling Stone,” Wilson tweeted Tuesday.

Rolling Stone described their selection as “singers who shaped history and defined our lives,” adding the caveat that “this is a list of the greatest singers, not a list of the greatest voices.”

Other powerful heavyweights include Justin Bieber, Madonna and Janet Jackson.

Andrew Scott, program coordinator of the Bachelor of Music program at Toronto’s Humber College, suggested that such lists say much less about the ranked artists than they do about the values ​​prioritized by the magazines that publish them.

“Maybe there’s a bit of patriotism there for us too,” Scott said of the particularly strong reaction from Dion’s home country of Canada.

But there is no doubt that Dion has left an indelible mark on the music industry, he said on Tuesday.

“Who in their right mind would dispute the fact that she didn’t have one of the greatest voices in the history of popular music? It’s just that,” he said.

“It probably shows some kind of elitist curator where it’s like, ‘We know better.'” Misri said she still likes to follow the debate, although she doesn’t call it great journalism at all. She welcomed a little distraction from the more important news of late.

“Think about it – the crux of the argument about whether PJ Harvey should be on that list or Madonna? I love that we are talking about this for 15 minutes and not COVID,” said Misri.

With files from Marisela Amador in Montreal.


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