How do I love thee, Celine? Let me count the ways.
I love that catch you have in your voice that makes your slender frame seem like a tuning fork that resonates with the passion you bring to a song's lyrics.
I love the way you revel in the sound of your own voice, and I love the way you gush over La Streisand. OK! I admit it. I'm a fan! So what?
Like an iron fist in a velvet glove, the power of Celine Dion's voice is cloaked in a silky vibrato that betrays the intensity of her vocal commitment. If you heard her sing "Power of the Dream" at the opening 1996 Olympic ceremonies in Atlanta, it was evident that the song summed up her life and accomplishments. She had the dream, the drive and the gift. Gold records, not gold medals, were her reward.
Vocally, Dion has the concentration of a laser beam; emotionally, she could be channeling Edith Piaf. Forget those one-name pretenders with diva-like aspirations. Mariah, Whitney and Shania have the chops but not the honesty or integrity to make me a fan. I respect them, I just don't love them.
Dion doesn't need to prance around the stage in just a scarf and a sneeze to impress an adoring audience. All she needs is the music to move her. On stage, she's in constant motion. Her concerts are as much an aerobic workout as a vocal one. She moves with a dancer's grace and a teen-ager's exuberance. She is by turns sassy and charmingly chatty.
The ultimate test of Dion's artistic ability is something that can be judged only by one's goose bumps. Bring yours to a Celine Dion concert (if you can get tickets) and watch them swell with pride.
I love to hear her sing those big, over-the-top dramatic songs like "Beauty and the Beast" or "Titanic's" "My Heart Will Go On." She has the theatrical instincts of a Sarah Bernhardt with a voice that soars with flag-waving excess.
Check out "Where Does My Heart Beat Now" from her debut English album, "Unison." It features a breathtaking, long-held note that would have baffled Houdini.
No Britney Spears little-girl voice from the former child star who used to be known as "La Petite Quebecois." With a soaring five-octave range, Queen Celine is able to rule the pop charts and leap fearlessly into the most technically challenging material.
If I were one of those annoying "I-told-you-so" reviewers, I might brag that back in 1996 I wrote, "I have no doubt that when her first solo tour is over, Celine Dion will have developed into an international megastar."
Looking back at that extravagant claim, only one correction needs to be made. Dion has turned into a supernova.