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Legendary ladies of the past and the future joined forces at last night’s VH1 Divas 2009 concert at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Howard Gilman Opera House. A sleek and spunky Paula Abdul hosted the event, performing a medley of her greatest hits at the start of the show and later doing a hilarious sendup of her American Idol replacement, Ellen DeGeneres.

Also on hand as presenters: Reality stars Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port, comedian Kathy Griffin, the cast of Fame, Today‘s Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, True Blood‘s Sam Trammell and Ryan Kwanten, Real Housewives Bethenny Frankel, Nene Leakes, and Kim Zolciak, songwriter Keri Hilson and The Beautiful Life star Corbin Bleu.

But the evening was really about celebrating sisterhood through song. Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson, Jordin Sparks, Adele, Leona Lewis and Miley Cyrus each performed one of her chart-topping tunes before returning to duet with the artists who inspired them.

Among the collaborations: Leona and Cyndi Lauper, Miley and Sheryl Crow, Jordin and Martina McBride, Adele and India.Arie, Jennifer and Stevie Wonder, and Kelly and Melissa Etheridge.

And the evening’s surprise guest was none other than Liza Minnelli, whose very presence moved Paula to tears and no doubt taught the younger divas a lesson in survival and longevity.

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