The Australian media hasn’t quite seen anything like it since Frank Sinatra’s ill-fated tour 40 years ago.
Ariana Grande, the 21-year-old former Nickolodeon star whose album, My Everything, is a global No. 1 hit, is currently in Sydney.
Ariana who, you cry? Well, if you’re over 30, it’s a fair question, but she’s bigger than Beyonce, is Spotify’s top artist and has 18.3 million Twitter followers. (Some of us are old enough to remember how exciting it was when Ashton Kutcher cracked 1 million).
Her single, Problem, features Australian rapper Iggy Azalea and with 3 singles in the top 10, her success is only rivalled by Adele.
Grande was on the X-Factor the other night and is currently on an Australian promotional tour.
Now you’d think seasoned entertainment hacks would be used to the demands of pop stars and the de rigueur “off limits” questions list, but something went horribly wrong with Ms Grande’s Sydney media commitments on Monday and boy did she knock down a hornet’s nest.
The problem seems to be over photographs. She has rules: only shoot from the left and no natural light.
The News Ltd street paper mX was taking a few snaps and the pop starlet wasn’t happy with them, reviewing each frame and requesting the ones she didn’t like be deleted.
We’ll let News take up the story from here:
After a few minutes she left the hotel suite, complaining to her reps that she was unhappy with how her top looked in the poses.
Everyone assumed she had just gone back to her room at The Darling Hotel to change her outfit.
After another 20 minutes of waiting for Grande to switch outfits, one of her representatives returned, demanding the mX photographer delete all his photos.
The photographer refused – and was later approached by a member of the singer’s security team who attempted to prevent him from closing the tailgate on his car as he stowed his equipment.
The singer then ditched the rest of the happy snaps session for various newspaper outlets.
The interview also went out the window and it’s all gone downhill from there, with a defiant mX publishing the photo she wanted deleted on its front page, and News going behind-the-scenes, publishing a list of Grande’s interview demands, as well as a satirical open letter to the popstar from her neglected right cheek.
The Sydney Morning Herald managed to get a video interview, but seemed to come away unimpressed, observing “Grande has a healthy ego. She certainly lived up to the starlet stereotype”.
Now for readers under 40 asking why we’re comparing her with Frank Sinatra (Google who he is), you have to cast your mind back to Cranky Frankie’s 1974 Australian tour, when he described Australia’s female journalists as “buck-and-a-half hookers” while on stage in Melbourne.
The media went ballistic and demanded an apology. Sinatra refused, cancelled his second Melbourne concert fled to Sydney and planned to leave town, except a union black ban stopped him refuelling his private jet. He was holed up in the Boulevard Hotel for three days until a union official called Bob Hawke (Google him too) brokered a peace deal.
Perhaps Bob should pop over and offer Ariana some career advice.
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