There’s no question Ariana Grande dominated 2014. From her No.1 sophomore album My Everything — which spawned two Billboard top-five hits: “Problem” (feat. Iggy Azalea) and “Break Free” (feat. Zedd) — to live performances rampant with kitty ears and go-go boots, the 21-year-old certainly laid down groundwork to be the next pop queen. But her reign’s not over yet.
With a headlining tour planned for 2015, it looks like we won’t be saying goodbye to Grande anytime soon. And cheers to that! The music world is sassier, cuter and just more fun with her in it. Below, we put in our own two-cents on what we’d like to see from the diva. We only have one major request: Love us harder.
A new single from My Everything, preferably “Hands On Me” (feat. A$AP Ferg)
If we go off Grande’s first album Yours Truly, which churned out three singles, the odds of a fourth single off My Everything are pretty slim. However, there’s still so much pop goodness to explore on the album. While a logical final single would be a vocal-heavy track like “One Last Time” or “Why Try,” we’re crossing our fingers for “Hands On Me” (feat. A$AP Ferg), the most out-of-the-box song on the record. The electro/hip-hop club banger charts new, daring territory for Grande and features her sexiest vocals to date. It’s got our vote.
A new performance outfit. (Sorry.)
Grande’s created a uniform for her live performances: Tied up hair, short skirt, go-go boots and cat ears (with very little deviation). It’s time for Grande to change it up and let her hair down — literally. We suggest an old Hollywood glam look, much like her va-va-voom get-up at the 2014 American Music Awards. C’mon, Ari: A new year is the perfect opportunity to reinvent yourself.
More jazzed-up/slowed down versions of her songs.
Speaking of the AMAs, Grande gave a downright beautiful performance at this year’s show with a jazz medley of “Problem,” “Break Free” and “Love Me Harder” (feat. The Weeknd). The show-stopping set makes us hungry for more mature reinterpretations of Grande’s hits. We’d love to see her pull a Kylie Minogue and release some orchestral efforts.
A return to acting.
With Sam & Cat’s cancellation earlier this year, we haven’t seen Grande act in quite some time (besides Saturday Night Live in September, where she faired quite well). Grande has great comedic timing and clearly emotional range to boot, so we’d like to see her dip some toes into acting again — on stage or screen. After all, her early roots are in theatre.
A full-length holiday album.
Admit it: You can’t stop listening to Grande’s Christmas anthem “Santa Tell Me.” It’s okay; we can’t either. So, why not keep the momentum going and release a full-length holiday album in time for the 2015 season? Think Grande’s 2013 EP Christmas Kisses, but bigger. Much bigger.
A collaboration with a music legend.
Grande’s got collaborations with her contemporaries down (Iggy, Nicki Minaj and Mac Miller — oh my!), but we’d die to see her blend her out-of-this-world pipes with a true-blue music icon. While we’re not holding our breaths for a Mariah Carey duet, Grande has listed India.Arie, Beyoncé and Madonna all as musical influences. We’d welcome a collab with any of these divas. Madonna is set to release new music this year… (We can dream, right?)
An iconic live performance.
If there was an awards show in 2014, Grande probably performed at it. While there’s no denying Grande has vocal prowess and a kitschy stage presence, she hasn’t slayed us with a quintessential performance like other divas. (Think Britney Spears’ snake tango at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards or Lady Gaga’s paparazzi death at the ’09 show.) This is the year Grande should take risks, push boundaries and deliver a performance that will have us talking for years to come. A snake waltz, perhaps?
[Photo: Getty Images]