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Ariana Grande defends change to her speaking voice amid criticism

PEOPLE
Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande has addressed a recent viral clip in which her speaking voice can be heard drastically changing, claiming the shift is partly due to her efforts to protect her singing voice.

The pop star, 30, responded to the popular TikTok, which featured a clip of her interview on Penn Badgley’s “Podcrushed” podcast last week. The video, which was posted on Monday, already holds more than 876,000 likes, as well as numerous comments appearing to poke fun at her vocal change.

“I intentionally change my vocal placement (high/low) often depending on how much singing I’m doing,” Grande commented on the TikTok video Tuesday.

She called the shift a “habit” she’s had for the past two years — something she does for her “vocal health.”

“I’ve always done this BYE,” she concluded her message.

Some of the comments she appeared to be replying to included one that read, “This is so scary … like is she OK?” Another user wrote in all caps, “GLINDA LET HER GO,” implying her character from “Wicked” was somehow holding her hostage.

The “Thank U, Next” singer has been open about her vocal transformation for her “Wicked” role and the extensive training which may have affected her voice.

This is not the first time that Grande’s speaking voice has come under public scrutiny. Similar reactions occurred when she presented an award at the Oscars in March and many took notice of her higher-pitched tone.

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Justin Timberlake

NEW YORK — Though he’s scheduled to be in Europe on his world tour, Justin Timberlake will have to return to court next month following his drunk driving charge on Long Island this week.

The“Selfish” singer, 43, whose mugshot was released Tuesday afternoon after his arraignment, is scheduled to appear in court on July 26, Us Weekly reports.

July 26 also marks the first of two consecutive shows the NSYNC alum is slated to perform in Kraków, Poland, as part of his “ Forget Tomorrow World Tour.” No word yet on the fate of those two shows, as well as those in Berlin the following week.

Timberlake was arrested early Tuesday in Sag Harbor, after sailing past a stop sign in his 2025 gray BMW UT. The singer was pulled over just blocks from where he’d reportedly been partying at the American Hotel.

The pop star repeatedly refused to take a chemical test behind bars but failed numerous field sobriety tests, according to court filings obtained by the Daily News.

“I had one martini, and I followed my friends home,” the “Cry Me a River” singer told cops, according to prosecutors.

“It was ascertained that the defendant was operating said vehicle in an intoxicated condition,” read the filing. “His eyes were bloodshot and glassy, a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage was emanating from his breath, he was unable to divide attention, he had slowed speech, he was unsteady afoot and he performed badly on all standardized field sobriety tests.”

Per the court docs, the pop star was read his Miranda rights and refused to speak to officers but remained calm.

Timberlake was arrested just ahead of shows scheduled for Chicago’s United Center on Friday and Saturday, as well as June 25 and June 26 performances at Madison Square Garden — none of which has yet been canceled.

Timberlake has had a rough go of it in recent years, beginning when he was photographed in late 2019 getting cozy with his "Palmer" co-star Alisha Wainwright, despite his marriage to Jessica Biel, and their young family.

Last year, Timberlake was taken to task in ex-girlfriend Britney Spears’ explosive memoir, “The Woman in Me,” for the abortion she says she underwent during their early aughts relationship, as well as allegedly cheating on the “Toxic” singer.

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Doja Cat

NEW YORK — Post Malone and Doja Cat, two of pop music’s biggest stars, will headline this year’s Global Citizen Festival in New York’s Central Park on Sept. 28, as organizers focus on mobilizing young people to help address the world’s pressing problems.

The COVID-19 pandemic erased years of progress the world had made toward ending extreme poverty and those setbacks have been compounded by the wars in Ukraine and Gaza and complicated by climate change, said Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans. He estimates that about 10% of the world’s population now lives in extreme poverty and the United Nations expects 575 million people will be at that level in 2030, despite long-term plans to eradicate it.

“In the very environment where we need more ambition, we are seeing many nations step back,” Evans told The Associated Press. “That’s why we know our work is more urgent than ever and why we’re so thrilled that the world’s greatest artists are stepping up at a time when they’re absolutely needed.”

Global Citizen has long partnered with major artists – from Beyonce and Jay-Z to Queen, Stevie Wonder to Ed Sheeran – to generate attention that it can turn into audience actions that lobby political, corporate and philanthropic leaders to support its initiatives. The nonprofit says its events in the past decade have generated more than $14 billion toward eliminating extreme poverty.

Evans said this year’s headliners have an important connection to young people, who are essential to changing how leaders react to current needs.

“There’s a reason why brand managers spend so much time speaking to that 16-to-30-year-old demographic -- the major trendsetters of the next 40 years,” Evans said. “Young people have the power to create enormous change when they band together.”

Malone embodies that sentiment in his current music. His current single “Pour Me a Drink” is a duet with Blake Shelton. And so far this year, he has also teamed up with Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Morgan Wallen.

Doja Cat, currently on a European tour promoting her hit “Scarlet” album, is also known for her collaborations.

“We all have a part we can play to help end extreme poverty and stand up for equity,” Doja Cat said in a prepared statement. “I’m looking forward to being part of this major evening of positive change.”

Tickets for the festival, which will also include sets from country star Jelly Roll and Puerto Rican singer and rapper Rauw Alejandro, are free. But they require taking action on the festival website to “defeat poverty, defend the planet, or demand equity” – generally involving writing to global leaders or posting on social media.

Global Citizen is working to convince countries to increase their contributions to the World Bank’s International Development Association, the fund dedicated to raising the standard of living in the world’s 75 lowest-income countries.

Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema said the timing of the campaign is critical. “As our worst agricultural season in over 40 years takes hold, our nation and our neighbours are facing dire food shortages and severe instability in our power supply,” he said in a prepared statement. “The participation of the world’s wealthy nations in this replenishment is not just generosity — it is life or death for millions experiencing the worst impacts of climate change.”

This year, Global Citizen is also focusing on in-person activities around New York to introduce young people to volunteering in order to receive festival tickets. It has partnered with Black Surfing Rockaway to clean up Rockaway Beach and nonprofits like The Bowery Mission and Citymeals on Wheels to work with new volunteers.

“It’s a low-data entry point for those who want to take action,” Evans said. “It’s an initiative we’ve done across Ghana. We did it in South Africa as part of a big cleanup. It also educates Global Citizens about food insecurity and other needs in New York.”

From combined wire services

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