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ARIANA: POP
DIVA SUPREME

With a killer first-week number for #1 album Sweetener—surpassing her prior full-length’s bow by 32%, a feat rarely seen in the streaming era—Ariana Grande establishes herself as the reigning pop diva of the times. (We distinguish her as “pop diva” from Taylor Swift, a pop-culture phenom and the biggest female U.S. star in our galaxy.)

Ariana’s compassionate handling of the horrific Manchester moment and her subsequent smash singles since then have catapulted her to the top rank of her generation’s stars. She should remain on this airy perch for years to come, provided she can avoid the chronic disease of self-destructive behavior that afflicts America’s glitterati. Congratulations are due to manager Scooter Braun and team, in conjunction with Monte Lipman’s killer army at Republic. But everyone involved gives ultimate credit to Grande herself, whose shine, not too long ago, might have been far less bright—with a shorter expected duration. She deserves major props for shutting down the doubters and haters.

HITS LIST: AMPERSANDS
Dynamic duos (12/6a)
NEAR TRUTHS:
WINNING NOMINATIONS
I.B. Bad on music's biggest comeback (12/6a)
ON THE COVER: LADY GAGA & TONY BENNETT
It's De-Lovely. (12/6a)
CALLING THE PLAYS:
JOHN JANICK
We salute the winner and still champ. (12/6a)
SONG STREAMS:
'TIS THE SEASON
It's beginning to look a lot like Xmas. (12/6a)
CHESTNUTS
Roasting.
STOCKINGS
Stuffing.
PIPERS
Piping.
SANTA
Coming.
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