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Ariana Grande Defends Voice Change After Viral Interview Clip: ‘God Forbid I Sneeze Like Glinda’

Ariana Grande is defending herself from critics who’ve taken issue with her changing the sound of her voice in interviews during the promo run for Wicked. In a new interview with Evan Ross Katz for his Shut Up Evan podcast, the singer pointed to her voice’s “muscle memory” and called out double standards.

“I did just spend a long time playing a character every single day and training my voice to do different things,” she said, referring to her role as Glinda in the upcoming musical-turned-films. “The voice is in the body, it’s an instrument, and muscle memory is a real thing. That’s a normal thing for people who[se] job [is] to transform.”

Several weeks ago, Grande faced criticism from users online after a clip went viral, where she switched the tone of her voice while speaking to Penn Badgley in an interview. At the time, she responded to a comment on TikTok by writing that she had been “speaking like this for two years” and attributed the change to “habit” and prioritizing her “vocal health.”

On social media, users have also criticized Grande for “shape-shifting” — accusing her of using a Blaccent and over-tanning in the past — and now embracing her paler features and opting for a different voice with her new Wicked role.

In the Katz interview, Grande said that male actors often receive praise for being able to manipulate their voice for roles and are rarely scrutinized as much as women for these sorts of things.

“Sure, people make jokes here and there as well about everybody who experiences something like this — but it’s always after the fact that they’re like, ‘Oh, wow, how dedicated to his craft. What an amazing transformation! He’s a brilliant performer!’” she said on the podcast. Famously, Austin Butler was lauded for his performance as Elvis Presley in the biopic but also criticized for being unable to switch off the accent.

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“God forbid I sneeze like Glinda,” she said. “I had a job to do… People change, and habits happen. It’s a strange thing to be under such a microscope.”

The first installment of Wicked is set to release on Nov. 22. The musical’s official trailer, which sees Grande as Glinda and Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba, dropped in mid-May. The film also features Michelle Yeoh, Jeff Goldblum, Bowen Yang, and Peter Dinklage, among others.

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