You know what genre of celeb will always have a special place in my heart? The wildly famous, hugely successful, but inherently uncool superstar. I feel a kinship, and will abide no snark directed at them. The epitome of this breed is Canadian singer Céline Dion. Slander her in my presence at your peril.
It feels as if Dion, 49, has been singing in my ear for ever. I remember hearing her voice on the titular song from the 1991 Disney film Beauty And The Beast, but I really only became aware of her as an artist in 1996, when she released Falling Into You. I carried her song Because You Loved Me in my heart, head and notebook (handwritten lyrics were very big that year). Is it schmaltzy? Well, yes: “I’m everything I am/because you loved me” is basic at best. But Dion’s gift is sincerity: her slightly nasal voice swells as she plays up the schmaltz and powers through the sentimentality. It is music beloved of mums and aunties, and it’s not always great. But it connects, from Nigeria to Jamaica, and everywhere in between.
By the time she sang the mega-hit My Heart Will Go On for the 1997 Titanic soundtrack, her legacy was complete. She’s high camp (Vegas residencies, naturellement) and cheesy like a ripe camembert. But her recent unimaginable loss (her husband and brother died of cancer within days of each other in 2016) brought on a worldwide wave of tender affection. We love her.
That’s what made her recent appearance at the 2017 Met Gala all the more joyful. She seemed to be having fun – hanging out with hip-hop band Migos, and eating a hotdog – and you know what? She deserves it.