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Right photo courtesy Essence

If the name "Fiona" makes you think of a hippopotamus in Cincinnati, you're clearly not listening to soul music. A singer from Toronto known as Melanie Fiona has won a couple of Grammy Awards, and caught the attention of Hair Fans by growing out her locks for years. Unlike some singing stars, the hair was all hers. But in mid-March, the seemingly inevitable happened. Fiona visited stylist Kiyah Wright and cut an estimated 14 inches off. Fiona posted the dramatic "hard" moment on Instagram, writing she did it for "empowerment, breaking cycles, energetic release and rebirth."

All that sounds impressive, but is Fiona's new look stopping a bit below the shoulders an improvement? Our voters said, with six out of 10 preferring her hair longer. "A boring downgrade," concluded one voter who thinks the cut actually was longer than 14 inches. But from the other side: "Long just hangs," with the new cut more stylish. We'd want to pursue Fiona's hair either way, as long as she keeps it in line - but sadly, that doesn't always happen. Good "song styling" sometimes can ruin good hairstyling, you know.

Thanks to all of you who take part in our polls! And we welcome any news tips you have on changing celebrity styles. Contact us at: SuperHair@Gmail.com .

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2020 will be remembered for what one ministry has called, "The New March Madness." A month with no basketball tournaments. No hockey tournaments. Only one round of Australian men's football. That's what COVID-19 did around the world. But at least we at Super-Hair tried. We decided to give colleges an online, virus-free competition - extending our year-end "Elite Eight" by having a separate "Terrific Ten" contest with Best Manes on Campus from the winter season, battling to see whose style is best.

Sadly, our week-long contest didn't gain much interest - with the vote count off 43 percent from the Elite Eight in December. But Kayla Erickson of Beloit Colege in Wisconsin prevailed, with half the votes. Abbey Meyers of Chicago Loyola and Briana Niedermeier of Cleveland State tied for second at 25 percent. Seven women gained no support at all - but should take comfort in knowing they were noticed and were in the running.

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Two decades ago, Super-Hair in Brazil meant a supermodel named Gisele. Other women had great styles, but little publicity. That led South Amerrica's biggest country into a hair drought on our site during much of the 2010s. But at the end of the decade, much changed. Three Crown Awards for Brazilians in 2017 were followed by two in 2019, with Instagram model Pamella Azeredo winning a top prize of Best Long Hair. Her styles stretch well below the waist. But during the Brazilian summer, we thought Azeredo spent a lot of time in the Rio de Janeiro sun - because her dark brunette color looked lighter in March. We called it "blonde," but perhaps it was more a gray shade.

Should Azeredo consider a permanent color change? Our voters say no. A one-week poll ended with 56 percent calling for her to say brunette, while 33 percent the lighter look and 11 percent called for some other color (5-3-1). But for some voters, the question was a different kind of puzzle. "I don't see that much difference," one said. "None at all," wrote another. OK, maybe we were seeing things. Azeredo likes to play tempting hair games with her Instagram followers - even reaching once in a while for scissors, only to put them away.

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The Crown Awards have introduced us to some amazing heads of hair from all parts of the world, including some we'd never seen before. The rise of Instagram allowed an "AM" (account manager, we think) in Armenia named Gohar Shahnazaryan to become famous. With hair stretching to her ankles, she won three Crowns in 2017 including Best Long Hair. She was nominated again in 2019 - but during the voting, Shahnazaryan shocked her 55,000-plus followers by displaying a new style that stopped a bit below her shoulders. Some Hair Fans were so stunned that they called for her removal from the ballot. But that ballot honored 2019 hair, and she apparently made the change in 2020.

We're told Shahnazaryan sold all that trimmed hair for money - so was she penny-wise and pound foolish? Our week-long vote was closer than you might think. The long look won, but by only 55 percent (6-5). "Great haircut," said one. "A waste of a gift from God," wrote another. "Stupid, stupid, stupid!" commented a third. To the critics, we note: maybe Shahnazaryan will grow it back out. To all sides, we'd point out that her hair still is "long" under Crown Awards standards. If it stays below the shoulders, she could contend in that category next year.

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Style surprises are not simply for young stars. Even members of our Hair Fan's Hall of Fame are capable of them. At about the same time that Eva Mendes made a big cut, Marie Osmond of The Talk went to stylist Cody Rinegar with classic brunette hair and came out a blonde. People magazine called it "caramel blonde" - and she displayed a chin-length bob with bangs as well.

Osmond has varied her hair length for decades. But going blonde is something else for her. She declared on Instagram, "I think blondes DO have more fun!" But our voters said brunette is better for her by a 73-percent margin (8-3). No one left a comment, but we think a brighter color will allow us to admire the strength of her hair that much more.

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As of March 2020, only one Hispanic woman was a member of our Hair Fan's Hall of Fame. Eva Mendes also is a three-time Crown Award winner, thanks to thick brown hair that's probably best known for being long and tempting. But Mendes has displayed short styles at time. And early this year, she's doing it again - switching at the end of January to what she called on Instagram a "first-ever" bob. Stylist "Giannandrea" made it shoulder-length, with Mendes using a headband for control (allowed under our Super-Hair definition).

One of Mendes's co-workers at N.Y. and Company called the short cut "cute." Our Hair Fans didn't write any descriptions in our week-long poll, but perhaps they were disappointed. Longer hair was preferred by 69 percent of them (9-4). Mendes's mane tends to fall in her eyes either way. But consider that headband for a moment. How many Hair Fans would want to get their hands on it for a souvenir, and even take a bite out of it - especially with it on her head?

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When the subject of a home-page poll makes news, we want it to be about her hair. But it's not always that way, and it's not always good. That sadly was the case when we asked you about a short haircut by actress Hayden Panettiere. As the poll began, her boyfriend Brian Hickerson was charged with domestic battery in Wyoming. It's his second arrest along those lines in a year; the first case was dismissed. We truly hope it wasn't about Panettiere's 5 February cut from mid-length soft hair to a chin-length, almost punky bob.

Panettiere wrote on Twitter that Naomi Szloboda gave her a "bomb" hair cut. Our Hair Fans might use that word differently, as in a failed movie. While one voter said, "I love short haircut," 80 percent of the voters prefer Panettiere longer (16-4). We agree with that view, but the new cut looks tough. May her attempts to keep it in place be peaceful and playful.

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If you went to the kitchen for a snack at the wrong moment, you missed her. If you changed the channel when people started singing something other than English, you missed her. Hey, we almost missed Gam Wichayanee - as her part of a song from the movie Frozen 2 in Thai didn't last long at the 2020 Academy Awards. But her long hair impressed, compared to other performers that evening. The well-polished look became a runaway winner of our poll for the best style of Oscar night.

Because our camera wasn't ready for Wichayanee's bit, we went to a red carpet photo of her on Twitter. That apparently settled it, as the woman known as "Gam the Star" in Asia collected 60 percent of the votes in a week. On what turned out to be an international night, Penelope Cruz of Spain was second at 20 percent. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Margot Robbie (representing the U.S.) tied for third at 10 percent. And the only woman of our five to win an Oscar, Laura Dern, received no votes at all - which is stunning, because she used to have a loyal following in contests like this. Have they, well, let it go?

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