Ariana Grande is doing 21 like a boss.
Last month she released My Everything, her second album, and her first post-weavegate; it dropped amid rumors of rampant divatude and alleged bad vibes. The songs are about her busting out and breaking free and becoming a woman and all that because turning 21 is fucking awesome and everyone should celebrate it with a bit of soprano vibrato and a closet full of go-go boots. (Actually, "Problem" is kinda burnt-toast with its dated whisper chorus and yelly-ass Iggy Azalea, but the rest of the album is cool.)
On the season premiere of Saturday Night Live this weekend, she did "Love Me Harder" with The Weeknd, and it was cute—she smiles during her performance, but at impulsive enough moments that it seems like she's genuinely having fun. Also: That. Voice.
Something Grande is facing at this point is that as a woman musician—especially a woman of a certain ilk and capacity for melisma—she will likely always be pegged as a diva, especially now that she is of age and people feel less bad about saying mean things about her. Other women who have been accused of divatude (in the negative sense, not in the "oh shit Martha Wash is killing that house interlude" sense): Madonna, Janet, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez (my favorite) and, of course, Mariah Carey, even though we are not supposed to talk about her. Grande is learning the age-old double standard in life and music that her dude counterparts can act a fool and be as demanding as possible and no one will blink an eye, yet if she goes so far as to ask for directions to the bathroom and forgets to say thank you, some bored blowhard is gonna be selling the story to OK! and your name will show up high in the Google search next to "diva bitch."
I'm kinda like: if you're gonna get called that, then why not be that. Ariana, make everyone around you do shit for you. Demand all the green gummy bears be removed from the green room. Demand all your water be alkaline. Say things like, "Excuse me, can you pick up that towel," with no question mark, with the implicit acknowledgement that it is a command, and that they will pick up that damn towel. In the immortal words of Nicki Minaj, do not drink the pickle juice. Be a diva. Go ahead, AG: you're 21, you're killing it, your music makes people happy, your music is putting money in the pockets of a lot of people, let the diva flag fly. Or, if you prefer, "Break Free," girl:
A tipster mentioned that Grande may have been lip syncing, but to me it just seems like she had backing tracks on the choruses to beef up her vocals, a pretty standard practice among basically everyone – even/especially divas.