Mae Young: Wrestler who showed herself to be as hard as the men and

Female emancipation has taken many forms, but few as gaudy and violent as the breakthrough largely pioneered by Mae Young, better known as "the Great Mae Young," superstar of the first generation of professional women wrestlers in the US, who conclusively gave the lie to generalisations about the gentler sex. In sport records are made to be broken, but Young's feat of appearing professionally in eight different decades may never be surpassed.

Has she gone rogue again? Sarah Palin takes aim as Mitt Romney keeps

Four years ago, she was the new Republican sensation, the most electrifying vice-presidential nominee in recent history. Now, it seems, Sarah Palin may not even be granted an official speaking slot at the party's coronation of Mitt Romney in Tampa, Florida, at the end of next month.

Being Modern: Auto-Tune

It is as influential and manipulative as Simon Cowell. And, as psych-trance enthusiasts are wont to declaim at house parties, it's just as responsible FOR THE DEATH OF MUSIC. Few technological advancements outside of a nuclear arms race have been as divisive as Auto-Tune.

Gaga for Gaga: World tour

Perhaps it was for the best that no one chose to copy the meat dress. After all, the "little monsters", as Lady Gaga's army of fans call themselves, did not seem to be struggling for wardrobe options when they turned out in Seoul for the start of their idol's world tour.

Album: Azari & III, Azari & III (Loose Lips)

Set to induce Proustian rushes of amyl nitrate is the debut of this Toronto quartet and its loving homage to early house music. All diva froideur and drum machine snap, it nevertheless transcends pastiche via a pervasive air of murky ambiguity: throughout, euphoria is freighted with anxiety, while straight-arrowed floor-fillers give way to burrowing, curlicuing phantasms. "Tunnel Vision", in particular, is a hypnotic exercise in clubland claustrophobia.

Full circle: Why is Sandie Shaw back on stage?

Sandie Shaw was traumatised by her experiences as a pop star in the 1960s – and became a therapist to help others through the highs and lows. So what persuaded the barefoot princess to return to the stage for the first time in 25 years?

Album: Kid Sister, Ultraviolet (Downtown)

A whiff of Partridgean "People like them, let's make some more" thinking surrounds the distinctly Kesha-like Kid Sister – aka 29-year-old Melisa Young from Chicago – but the Kanye West-affiliated crunk diva (West appears on the single "Pro Nails", and the whole thing's exec-produced by his DJ A-Trak) has enough in her locker to justify her existence.

Album: Gabriella Cilmi, Ten (Island Records)

Oh dear. Having scored themost played record of2009 with the still-notthat-irritating "SweetAbout Me", the Italian-Aussie songstress hasplugged into her "innerdisco diva" for this, hersecond album. It's a disastrousdecision: moreTeena Marie than DonnaSummer; all backcombedbeats and 1980s powerchords.Ten calls to mindKylie's early 1990s discodabblings, when she maderecords aimed at crossingfrom the dancefloor to theradio, when her naturaltrajectory was alwaysthe other way around.

All at sea with the magnate and the diva

Still don't know what to get that special someone for Christmas? How about a voyage on Aristotle Onassis's yacht, 'Christina O', the hottest new milestone journey. Kate Simon goes aboard

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Joyce DiDonato/Les Talens Lyriques/Rousset, Barbican, London

When Joyce DiDonato sweeps on with tousled blonde mane and in a skimpy scarlet bodice, you know this Southern belle means business of a steamy sort. We saw her at Covent Garden as the scorned Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni: her sulphurous rage incinerated everything it touched. So when she gives a recital entitled Furore: Handel's Scenes of Madness, we know roughly what to expect.

Whine, women and song: the bitter rivalry of Handel's divas

Their rows, love affairs and rivalries filled the gossip pages of newspapers in the first half of the 18th century and now, almost three hundred years later, Francesca Cuzzoni, Faustina Bordoni and Kitty Clive are set once again to be the talk of London.

Patty Hearst goes from doghouse to dog show

More than three decades have passed since Patty Hearst became even more famous than her name when she was kidnapped by a radical leftist group in California, only to show up several weeks later, helping her captors rob a bank.