We all know Ariana Grande has come a long way since the days when she acted in local theater — “Victorious,” YouTube stardom, “Sam and Cat,” redhead to brunette, a RECORD DEAL. That’s a lot, but it seems like it’s also been quite a long time since Ariana was an MTV Artist to Watch, performing at the VMA Pre-Show in 2013. However, that was only a year ago.
Ariana’s accomplished endless milestones in the last year, and we’ve watched her transform from petite pop princess to fierce space warrior in a matter of 12 months. Last year, she was performing at the VMA pre-show; this year, she’s taking on the big stage. So let’s pause to review with a timeline of Ariana’s many phases and intergalactic transformation.
August 25, 2013 — VMA Pre-Show
Ariana channeled a purple figure skater as she busted out an a capella version of “Baby I” before launching into “The Way.” After her VMA Pre-Show performance — which was heavy on the vocals, scant on the dancing — she quivered as she told Sway how glad she was the performance was over.
Ariana joked with us a little bit before revealing the cover art for her debut. First she teased a pink, lacy lingerie shoot before eventually rolling with a shadowy black-and-white image — a little more mature. The album itself was filled with soulful ’90s R&B with a kick of pop.
November 10, 2013 — MTV Europe Music Awards
Our friends on the other side of the pond got Ariana as their backstage host at the EMA. Not only was she killing it in the States, but she had us swooning overseas, too.
The singer got all warm and cuddly with her holiday EP, continuing the fuzzy earmuff phase from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
March 6, 2014 – She sang at the White House
Singing for the POTUS and FLOTUS is no easy task, and Ariana did it effortlessly and looked beautiful doing it in a long, black gown. Not many artists experience the honor of performing at the White House, and just think: a year before she didn’t even have an album out.
March 29, 2014 – Kids’ Choice Awards
Grande let her hair down at the KCA — a big deal if you’re an Arianator and Stan for Ariana’s ponytails. It was this sort of statement that let us know that Ariana wasn’t going to be all sweet and sugary anymore.
April 17, 2014 – The beginning of a ’Problem’
Ariana continued to let her sass out when she cut loose some promotional images for “Problem,” featuring Iggy Azalea. In the photos, she’s all ’60s mod, giving off a bad-ass vibe in knee-high boots and a mini-dress, not to mention the staring-down-her-nose-at-you look.
July 2, 2014 – ’Total Ariana Live’
Grande continued her quest for world domination when she managed to revive MTV’s “Total Request Live” and make it her own. It was then when she announced she’d perform “Break Free” at the 2014 VMAs. Arianators swarmed Times Square and proved Ariana had made it to mainstream status.
July 29, 2014 – ’Bang Bang’
It seems like everyone in music wants to collaborate with Ariana. Along with some established duets like with Big Sean, Iggy Azalea and Zedd, she still has reported credits with Chris Brown and Justin Bieber banked. But when Ariana got in on this Jessie J and Nicki Minaj banger, we realized that she wasn’t messing around.
August 12, 2014 – ’Break Free’
Last week, we learned that Ari can shoot rockets out of her chest in the “Break Free” video. I’m not sure if I have to keep explaining why she’s awesome after that, but she really went all intergalactic vigilante in the alien-themed vid.
August 24, 2014 – The MTV Video Music Awards
Ariana will take the big stage on Sunday at the VMAs, where she’s nominated for four different awards. Can she get much higher?