Here’s my hangup with Ariana Grande (whom my teenage niece loves; like, if Ariana is on TV, BACK OFF, because it’s not going anywhere): About seventy-five percent of the time, if not more, nothing she’s doing makes it all the way up to her eyes.

On the red carpet she usually looks half-terrified; when she’s performing, it’s like you can see the hamsters huffing and puffing on the wheel, trying not to trip and fall off it. (That’s not a comment on her intellect. More like, I feel like I can see her counting steps, planning ahead to the next dance move.) I remember the VMAs — or Grammys? — when she just stood up there and sang her heart out and was talented and cute, and it worked better for her in particular, to me, than all this generic Pop Princess stuff that feels strained. Although I am not her target audience, and whatever hash she’s slinging is CLEARLY finding a place on my niece’s plate, so whatever.

That said, this cellophane cheerleader bit is as dead to me as her eyes sometimes are (although can we give three cheers for her lipstick? It’s gorgeous on her). At first I thought it was going to be the skirt that annoyed me, until I got to this shot of the top and saw that it puts the “bust” in “bustier.” No need to be all Barneys all the time, but no need to be Dollar Store, either.

[Photo: Fame/Flynet]