Throwback Thursday: Mariah Carey – “Emotions” (Live at ‘The Arsenio Hall Show’)
About a week ago, Ariana Grande released “Imagine” and sent the internet into a frenzy with a couple of whistle notes. If the Mariah Carey comparisons was a giant bucket of gasoline, “Imagine” was like lighting a match and throwing it into said bucket. Fans of Ariana declared that she had officially replaced Mariah, while lambs (i.e. Mariah stans) downplayed the impressiveness of Ari’s whistle notes and suggested that she couldn’t do it live.
Two nights ago on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Ariana hit those notes live, and while it was impressive, she doesn’t appear to have as much control over her higher register as Mariah does.
All of this critique might seem unfair unless you’re familiar with Mariah Carey’s live performances in her prime. One that comes to mind — especially where whistle notes are concerned — is her September 1991 performance of “Emotions” on The Arsenio Hall Show. In this performance, you see a young woman in her bag and on her way to making history — with “Emotions,” Mariah achieved the distinction of being the first (and, so far, the only) artist to have their first five singles rise to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
This performance is not just arguably Mariah’s best ever, but also one of the best you will ever see in terms of vocals. She was SANGIN’ and it was effortless. When you put this up against anything Ariana has ever done, you realize that the debate about who’s better is actually quite ridiculous. Check it out below.