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Alicia Keys' Freedom Rings at American Airlines Arena

In the eternal pantheon of R&B divadom, there's a hierarchy and a history. The rank and order of things, though, is something that will be debated forever by full-time fans and casual critics, so we'll just step away from that messy, brutal battle. Instead, let's speak to the chronological record, which goes Aretha, Whitney, and Mariah. But, uh, who's next?

Over the course of the past decade, Alicia Keys has proven herself more than anyone to be pop music's current answer to Mariah Carey. Keys debuted with the massively successful Songs in A Minor in 2001, followed by a pair of Billboard number-one albums (2003's The Diary of Alicia Keys and 2007's As I Am) and bagged a bunch of Grammy awards. However, Keys' latest album, The Element of Freedom, released this past December, failed to reach the top of the charts. So has the new diva's Glitter moment arrived? Not quite. Thanks to a street-cred boost from Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind," and her spinoff version of the song, Freedom's already been certified platinum.

The real question: Will Keys' husband-to-be, rapper-producer Swizz Beatz, turn out to be her Tommy Mottola or Nick Cannon?

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S. Pajot
Contact: S. Pajot

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