What’s better than a new release from your favorite pop diva? When two (or more) pop divas unite in musical harmony. Think Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer calling out the dirty dogs in”Enough Is Enough”? Pink, Mya, Lil Kim and Christina Aguilera delivering female empowerment on “Lady Marmalade”, and Madonna and Britney getting all up on each other with “Me Against The Music”?
Sadly, some buzzed-about diva duets have never seen the light of day, whether due to label squabbles or “creative differences.” Some are simply missed opportunities, others are still talked about years later.
Below, we take a look at 6 of the fiercest tag-team tracks that never were.
1. Mariah Carey and Lauryn Hill, “Crystal Ball”
Way before Mimi required emancipating, the Imperfect Angel was scheduled to record a track with hip-hop stat Lauryn Hill called “Crystal Ball,” for Carey’s 1999 album, Rainbow.
Sadly, the two weren’t able to work out a day to record, leading to some tension and Mariah to hold an impromptu press conference: “If you’re not careful, the media can come between a collaboration, especially when you have two incredibly public icons collaborating such as [Lauryn] and myself. I still have faith in the song and in the idea that both her and I can make it happen.
Sadly, it didn’t.
2.Lady Gaga and Azealia Banks, “Red Flame”/”Ratchet”
Feisty 212 rapper Azealia Banks tweeted in 2012 that Lady Gaga had reached out for a collaboration.
In an interview with Brazil’s Mix TV, Banks revealed she was “really excited” about two songs they paired up on—”Red Flame” and “Ratchet”—which were to appear on Gaga’s Artpop.
But the songs didn’t make the cut. Why? No official reason—but somewhere between this backstage fan video of Gaga saying Banks has “a bad attitude” and Banks calling Gaga “lame” in Galore, it’s safe to say these two couldn’t #StopTheDramaStartTheMusic.
3. Lady Gaga and Cher, “The Greatest Thing”
Gaga wrote “The Greatest Thing” with RedOne years ago—before she broke big with Fame. Yet album after album, she chose not to release the song. Her producer had another idea: Why not Cher? The Dark Lady loved the demo so much, she wanted to use the song for the lead single off Closer To The Truth.
Sadly, Gaga didn’t approve of her own vocals being used in the mix: “It’s a great disappointment for me. We put vocals on forever ago but the track needed to be redone and mixed but before it was finished, she decided that she didn’t like it – and that’s that,” a defeated Cher tweeted.
An early version of the duet wound up leaking regardless.
4. Madonna and Kylie Minogue, “Alone Again”
To be fair, this one was never technically planned as a duet—but it could have been. Sort of.
The “Alone Again” saga started when Madge first penned the track with Rick Nowels while recording Music. For whatever reason, the track didn’t make the album and wound up in the lap of our favorite Aussie pop star. While there were rumors back in 2002 that the song was to be released as a B-side, Kylie’s version wound up remaining hidden in her glittery vaults until surfacing unexpectedly in her 2007 documentary, White Diamond.
Madonna’s version remains unheard, and the two deny that any collaboration is in the offing.
Perhaps it’s for the best anyway, considering the gay panic the union of two icons would create.
5. Britney Spears and Heidi Montag, “Dramatic”
In 2008, Ryan Seacrest received an email with a song from Hills starlet Heidi Montag—allegedly featuring The Holy Spearit herself, Britney Spears.
Seacrest premiered “Dramatic” on his radio show, but the whole thing seemed pretty sketch. Both Heidi team and Britney’s label denied the collaboration.
Britney recorded the song during the Blackout era, but it never made the album. So either both artists recorded the same song separately or Heidi got her hands on a Brit demo and boldly decided to sing along.
Which scenario sounds more realistic?
6. Katy Perry and Rihanna, TBD
Rihanna and Katy might make for the most entertaining award-show audience members when they’re together, but they’ve yet to turn their BFF-ness into musical gold.
In a 2012 interview, Perry described her hopes for such a pairing, while throwing shade at a recent pop star pair-up: “’Sisters are Doing it for Themselves’…that’s like the kind of song which I’d like to do, rather than ’Beautiful Liar.'”
A year later, the Prism princess was still dishing about a potential collab with Bad Gal Riri: “We have to do the best song ever.”
Here’s hoping we’re only FourFiveSeconds from finally hearing these two team up.