Hotel rolls out the red carpet for Carey, the ultimate demanding diva

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The Independent Culture

She has demanded that a record shop lavatory be redecorated for an hour-long signing ceremony and smashed a tea set to stop anyone else using it.

She has demanded that a record shop lavatory be redecorated for an hour-long signing ceremony and smashed a tea set to stop anyone else using it.

But even by the standards of high-maintenance divas, the reception laid on for Mariah Carey when she pulled up at a Knightsbridge hotel in the small hours of Sunday morning was an exemplar of pointless extravagance.

Rather than use the black marble paving laid out for lesser mortals, the 34-year-old singer, who is on a publicity tour to promote a new album, stepped from her limousine at 2.30am on to a plush red carpet lined by 2ft-high white candles.

Carey was greeted by staff at the five-star Baglioni hotel, some of whom had been roused from their beds to arrange the arrival.

The lavish welcome for the pop star, whose previous record company, EMI, paid her an estimated £20m to end her five-album deal after poor sales, had apparently been arranged after aides expressed concern at the lack of Carey's habitual deep-pile greeting 45 minutes before her arrival.

The former waitress turned global music brand has made little secret in the past of her belief in the material rewards of fame. She once said: "I grew up in a goddamn shack, so I like a bit of comfort."

But managers at the hotel, where Carey has booked 15 rooms at up to £2,000 a night, insisted yesterday the red-carpet treatment had been its idea. A spokesman said: "It was something we wanted to do. Ms Carey's people did not request it at short notice; we had the carpet down at 11pm."

Nonetheless, sources suggested the furore had been engineered to ensure Carey's appearance in gossip columns early in her seven-day publicity drive. The singer has seen her career falter in recent years and is widely seen as needing her new album, The Emancipation of Mimi, to be a success.

The episode will reaffirm Carey's place in the rankings of cosseted megastars. On a visit to London two years ago she demanded six de-humidifiers to protect her voice and an extra suite to use as a wardrobe at Claridge's. Chilled Evian mineral water was to be supplied in "plastic bottles only", and the tally of suitcases required for her two-day visit ran to 43.

In January this year she paid £1,500 for her Jack Russell terrier to be flown first class from New York to join her in Los Angeles, and after a performance at a Canadian record store last year she ordered the destruction of that tea set.

PAMPERED STARS

Sir Elton John demands fresh flowers in his dressing room before concerts. A simple request, perhaps, except for his hatred of chrysanthemums, lilies, carnations and daisies.

Luciano Pavarotti ordered an entire kitchen to be built into his suite in Edinburgh, despite the Balmoral Hotel having a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Beyoncé insisted her dressing room be kept at 25.5C, when she appeared at the Superbowl in Houston, Texas. Her favourite brand of fried chicken had to be ready at all times.

Whitney Houston has her lackeys check her bath water with a thermometer, and sends aides into rooms to check the temperature before she arrives.

J Lo demands rose petals be strewn in her hotel rooms, all-white dressing rooms, and two beauticians - one for each eyebrow.

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