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Calling All Divas

NEW YORK — More than a thousand divas-in-training turned out at Webster Hall here this month hoping to be the winner of VH1’s "Born To Diva: The Search for a Superstar" contest.<br><br>The reality series, scheduled to begin airing April...

NEW YORK — More than a thousand divas-in-training turned out at Webster Hall here this month hoping to be the winner of VH1’s “Born To Diva: The Search for a Superstar” contest.

This story first appeared in the March 20, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The reality series, scheduled to begin airing April 28, will feature the diva hopefuls from five major cities, including London, Atlanta, Miami, Philadelphia and New York, showcasing their talents. Since the series has been taped, the winners from each market have been chosen by three music industry executives: Ron Grant, Ken Komisar and Corey Rooney. The winners were then sent to “diva boot camp,” where producers and their team attempted to turn raw talent into polished performers.

Prior to boot camp, the finalists were each be interviewed by a “celebrity diva” to learn what it’s like to be a true diva. At the casting call here on March 5, contestants met with Kelly Rowland of Destiny’s Child; in Philadelphia, it was Patty LaBelle; Lisa Stansfield in London; Gloria Estefan in Miami, and Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Chilli from TLC in Atlanta.

The winning diva will perform on this year’s VH1’s “Diva’s Live” show on May 22 and receive a record and management contract with music industry veteran Tommy Mottola.

Webster Hall was the network’s final stop on the tour and women of all kinds showed up in their most-diva getups. From the basic pair of jeans with a T-shirt to the outrageous fur bomber jacket and bright blue boots, these diva wannabes spared no expense to show VH1 that they are “Born To Diva.”

Here, some highlights from the night.