2003–2007: A New Day... Live in Las Vegas
In early 2002 Dion had announced a three-year, 600-show contract to appear five nights a week in an entertainment extravaganza, A New Day..., at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. This move was seen as "one of the smartest business decisions in years by any major recording artist" given the relatively poor performance of her current releases. She conceived the idea for the show after seeing O by Franco Dragone early in her break from recording, and began on March 25, 2003, in a 4000-seat arena designed for her show. The show, put together by Dragone, was a combination of dance, music, and visual effects. It included Dion performing her biggest hits against an array of dancers and special effects. Reviewer Mike Weatherford felt that, at first, Dion was not as relaxed as she should be, and at times, it was hard to find the singer among the excessive stage ornamentations and dancers. However, he noted that the show had become more enjoyable, due to Dion's improved stage-presence and simpler costumes.
The show was also well-received by audiences, despite the complaints of expensive tickets; the show sold out almost every night since its 2003 opening. Ticket prices were as high as $320. The show was choreographed by Mia Michaels, who is a world renowned choreographer. According to Pollstar, Dion sold 322,000 tickets and grossed US$43.9 million in the first half of 2005, and by July 2005, she had sold out 315 out of 384 shows. By the end of 2005, Dion grossed more than US$76 million, placing sixth on Billboard's Money Makers list for 2005. A New Day... was the 6th biggest selling tour in America in 2006. Because of the show's success, Dion's contract was extended into 2007 for an undisclosed sum. On January 5, 2007 it was announced that the show would end on December 15, 2007, with tickets for the period after October 2007 having gone on sale from March 1. The Live in Las Vegas - A New Day... DVD was released on December 10, 2007 in Europe and the following day in North America.
2007–present: Back to studio
Her latest French language album, D'elles(About Them), released on May 21, 2007, debuted at the top of the Canadian album charts, selling 72,200 copies in its first week. It marked her tenth number-one album in the SoundScan era, and her eighth to debut at the top position. In Canada, the album has been certified 2x platinum, and within the first week had already shipped half a million units worldwide. D'Elles also reached No. 1 in France and Belgium. The first single "Et s'il n'en restait qu'une (je serais celle-l)" ("And If Only One Woman Stayed (I Would be That One)") debuted at the top of the French singles chart a month earlier. On October 27, 2007 Dion appeared on the fourth series of the British talent contest, The X Factor, as a mentor to the show's contestants. She also performed "Taking Chances" on the live show which was her first UK performance for five years.
Dion released her latest English album Taking Chances on November 12 in Europe, and on the 13th in North America. Her first English studio album since 2003s One Heart, the album features pop, R&B, and rock inspired music. Dion has collaborated with John Shanks, ex-Evanescence guitarist Ben Moody, as well as Kristian Lundin, Peer Astrom, Linda Perry, Japanese singer Yuna Ito, and R&B singer-songwriter Ne-Yo. Dion stated, "I think this album represents a positive evolution in my career ... I'm feeling strong, maybe a little gutsier than in the past, and just as passionate about music and life as I ever was." Dion launched her year-long worldwide Taking Chances Tour on February 14, 2008 in South Africa, performing 123 dates in stadiums and arenas across five continents. Celine's Taking Chances tour has been a great success in the United States, reaching the #1 spot on the tour charts and has been 100% sold out. In addition, she will be appearing on Idol Gives Back for a second year in a row. Celine Dion was nominated for 6 Juno Awards in 2008, leading the group of Canadians to receive this honour. Dion has added to her 53 previous nominations. Her nominations included Artist of the Year, Pop Album of the Year (for Taking Chances), Francophone Album of the Year (for D'elles) and Album of the Year (for both Taking Chances and D'elles).
On August 22, 2008, Celine Dion presented a free show, exclusively francophone, outside on the Plains of Abraham, in Quebec City, Canada, for the 400th anniversary of Quebec City. The celebration gathered approximatively 490,000 people (total with TV broadcast). The concert, called Cline sur les Plaines was released on DVD on November 11, 2008.
The end of October saw the worldwide release of her first ever comprehensive English greatest hits album called My Love: Essential Collection.. The album includes 15-16 previously released hit singles, one new song and a live re-working and single release of "My Love" taken from Taking Chances. Other versions of the album included a second CD with rarities and fan favorites, or more singles. As of November 2008 the album reach number 1 in 4 countries and top 10 in most others.
Artistry and image
Celine Dion star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Dion grew up listening to the music of Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Carole King, Anne Murray, Barbra Streisand and the Bee Gees, all of whom she would eventually collaborate with. During her younger years, which she spent performing in her parents' piano bar along with her other siblings, she also performed many songs by Ginette Reno and other popular Qubcois artists. She has also expressed appreciation for dith Piaf, Sir Elton John, Cher and opera singer Luciano Pavarotti, as well as many soul singers of the 1960s, 70's and 80's, including Roberta Flack, Etta James and Patti Labelle, whose songs she would later rerecord. Her English-language material has been influenced by numerous genres, including pop, rock, gospel, R&B and soul, and her lyrics focus on themes of poverty, world hunger, and spirituality, with an overemphasis on love and romance. After the birth of her child, her work also began to emphasize maternal bond and brotherly love.
Dion has faced considerable criticism from many critics, who state that her music often retreats behind pop and soul conventions, and is marked by excessive sentimentality. According to Keith Harris of Rolling Stone magazine, "[Dion's] sentimentality is bombastic and defiant rather than demure and retiring....[she] stands at the end of the chain of drastic devolution that goes Aretha-Whitney-Mariah. Far from being an aberration, Dion actually stands as a symbol of a certain kind of pop sensibility—bigger is better, too much is never enough, and the riper the emotion the more true." Dion's francophone releases, by contrast, tend to be deeper and more varied than her English releases, and consequently have achieved more credibility.
Dion is often regarded as one of pop music's most influential voices and according to some sources, she possesses a five-octave vocal range. In a countdown of the "22 Greatest Voices in Music" by Blender Magazine and MTV, she placed ninth (sixth for a female), and she was also placed fourth in Cove magazine's list of "The 100 Outstanding Pop Vocalists". Describing her voice, The New York Times writes: Ms. Dion...is a belter with a high, thin, slightly nasal, nearly vibratoless soprano and a good-sized arsenal of technical skills. She can deliver tricky melismas, produce expressive vocal catches and sustain long notes without the tiniest wavering of pitch. And as her hit duets...have shown, she is a reliable harmony voice."