Ariana Grande was unstoppable this year. The former Nickelodeon star conquered the radio, the charts, the tabloids, the TV circuit, and the meme factories, ascending from Victoria Justice/Miranda Cosgrove purgatory to the Katy/Miley/Gaga A-list on the strength of a powerhouse voice and a charmingly goofy off-mic persona.
In a single week this fall, she duetted with Little Big Town on the CMA Awards, partnered with Major Lazer on Lorde’s Hunger Games soundtrack, and gyrated with the Weeknd in the "Love Me Harder" video.
Girl was everywhere. But what a delight it was having this pint-sized, big-haired, dimple-cheeked, cat-eared, not-a-girl-not-yet-a-woman in our lives. My Everything was a time capsule of the year in chart pop: the Max Martin-fueled saxobeat riot of "Problem" (with ubiquitous Iggy Azalea feature), the Zedd-fueled arena-EDM rocket blast of "Break Free", the Ryan Tedder-fueled power ballad "Why Try".
There’s even a DJ Mustard nod in the "Hands on Me" breakdown, for maximum 2014-ness. Holding it all together were those octave-leaping pipes, as Ariana carried on the vintage Mariah/Xtina tradition of sharp, streetwise divadom.