It’s a Friday night in my living room. Somehow blessed with an early 2000s video countdown, my two friends and I can barely hear it. We’re in the middle of a heated argument, the catalyst being the music video for the 2001 version of “Lady Marmalade.” This song, originally sung by Labelle, pulled together pop artists Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, P!nk, and Mýa for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack and one of the best pop collaborations ever. The argument centered around who, if anyone, would be brought together in our present pop music scene to recreate the magic. In honor of this, the fourteenth anniversary of “Lady Marmalade,” I present our final choices.
Mýa = Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande has a sweet, slightly breathy quality to her voice that falls nicely in line with Mýa’s. You need a good, steady voice to kick off that first verse, and Grande can easily carry it.
Runner-up: Selena Gomez
P!nk = Charli XCX
While I can’t say that I see too many similarities in P!nk’s and Charli XCX’s vocal styles, though both are strong in their own ways, you can’t deny that they share a certain sassy, flippant attitude (which is to say, neither of them could care less about what you think). Charli XCX easily took this part, for attitude alone.
Runner-up: Jessie J.
Lil’ Kim = Nicki Minaj
When you consider your options for a badass lady rapper with strong feminist overtones to replace Lil’ Kim, does anyone come to mind before Nicki Minaj? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Minaj would absolutely kill the rap and has the badassery to match that of Lil’ Kim in spades.
Runner-up: the name Iggy Azalea was thrown around, but I honestly can’t see anyone besides Nicki doing this part.
Christina Aguilera = Miley Cyrus
When “Lady Marmalade” was covered, Christina Aguilera had one of the strongest voices on the pop scene and was just on the cusp of reintroducing herself as an artist with Stripped. She was a natural choice to belt out the last verse. One of the few people who could do it justice now would be Miley Cyrus, an artist who recently went through her own career reinvention with Bangerz. Love or hate her shock tactics, you have to admit that she’s got some voice on her.
Runner-up: Lady Gaga.
Now, I know you might have some questions.
Where is Beyonce?
Ultimately, we determined not to include Queen B—arguably, she could have sang any of these parts, but we wanted to go with people who fit into the roles separately and were on a similar level of pop stardom with one another.
Where is Taylor Swift?
Y’all, I just don’t think this is Taylor’s scene.
Wait, Missy Elliot raps the intro/outro of this song—who would replace her?
No one. The answer is no one. There is only one Missy Elliot.
Do you agree with these selections? Do you disagree and have your own set of ladies to argue? Are you offended at the very idea of re-covering “Lady Marmalade”? Leave it for us in the comments, however: