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Cutting-Edge Hair News, 2023

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Even casual followers of country music probably know the name "Kane Brown." They may know him best as part of a rising group of minority artists, as he's multiracial with a Black father and white mother. But how many people knew Brown was married - and his wife can sing, too? Kaitlyn Brown had her live TV debut (to our knowledge) at the 2023 CMT Music Awards in Austin. They shared the top "Video of the Year" prize from Facebook voters for the song Thank God. And our voters went farther, giving Kaitlyn the most votes for the best hairstyle of the show.

We thought the three-hour program had a lot of great hair contenders. But the week-long vote came down to two women. Kaitlyn Brown won two-thirds of the vote, while oc-host Kelsea Ballerini with her bounce-filled long hair took one-third. Maybe one commenter summed up the mood for many: "Too many center part cuts... and a hat?" Well, many country singers over the years have worn hats. And if the hair was still on full display, we considered that OK. That works best for western-style hats, though; one singer wore a ball cap, which didn't impress us at all.

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Photos courtesy People

Lily Collins finally won a Crown Award in March for Emily in Paris - but her idea of "French Girl Bangs" cover the forehead. Other people clearly have different views. Actress Olivia Wilde put hers on display at the Fashion Trust U.S. Awards, two days after our Crown presentation. They're longer than Lily's, shaped carefully with curl to go around her eyes. Her stylist, Mara Roszak, described them on Instagram as "a very light long bang... giving a flattering sculpted shape around the face."

Maybe Wilde is a future threat to Collins in the Best Bangs race, but our voters liked them. The "French Girl" from New York City won 86% support for the change in a six-day poll (6-1). Some people had a different name for Wilde's new look: "curtain bangs." One voter wrote: "Not a big fan of the curtains." If we could get close enough to Wilde to flick at them a bit, we absolutely would be.

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Singer Tori Kelly brings back several memories for us. We were introduced to her during the 2013 Academy of Country Music Awards - as we were moving to a new base location and scrambling to find any open internet access we could. Kelly's big blonde waves impressed our voters, as she became an undefeated champion in Super-Hair Wars and lost only to eventual champion Lea Michele. But while Kelly has had some musical success, she's largely fallen out of view and sound in recent years. So perhaps she decided after turning 30, 2023 is time for Tori 2.0. Her new project Missin U has a steamy cover look. And surprisingly, Kelly has turned her hair brunette.

Is the dark side better for Kelly? Our voters are "missin'" her blondeness. In a six-day poll, the vote was unanimously for the old shade (5-0). The 2013-era look certainly was a lot more playful. Unpinning her latest do's would take a lot more work, asnd we're honestly not sure it's worth the reward.

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Kelly Ripa went to the 95th annual Academy Awards on business. Her Live talk show with Ryan Seacrest (although not for much longer) did backstage interviews with Oscar winners on a Sunday night for a Monday morning program. But Ripa seemingly came ready to do business on another level - the hair level. Her blonde hair was as big and wave-filled as we've ever seen her. So even though Ripa wasn't part of the show, she was a red-carpet must for our hairstyle race - and Hair Fans narrowly chose her as the best look of the night.

A poll extended to nine days by internet issues ended with Ripa receiving 38% of the votes. But we apparently posted our ballot too soon - because Jessica Chastain came out late in the show with stunning long red hair, which earned two "write-in" votes in the comments section worth 25%. Julia Louis-Dreyfus had 13%, tying her with write-ins Ana de Armas and Nicole Kidman. But we wonder: was Chastain helped by standing alongside Halle Berry? Berry was the talk of Twitter for having curls covering her left eye. Several wrote about reaching to move those curls. Wouldn't a lot of Hair Fans love to do that...?

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Photos courtesy People

Charlize Theron has appeared in a lot of guises in the movies. In fact, you might be surprised to learn her IMDb biography calls her not only an actress, but a "costume designer". Theron was a "Lady" with shoulder-length permanent curls in The School for Good and Evil. Her head practically was shaved in Mad Max: Fury Road. And for several months in 2022, Theron was a brunette in real life - displaying what one magazine called a "mullet." But in February, Theron went back to a signature look for her: a short blonde sidepart. The shade was reminiscent of her look portraying Megyn Kelly in Bombshell.

One magazine said Theron made the change for Paris Fashion Week - but we suspect the real target date was Oscar night, since blonde is her most familiar "red carpet" color. (So much for our theory; she was nowhere in sight.) It's what our Hair Fans prefer as well; Theron as a blonde received unanimous support in a one-week color contest (6-0). It all leaves fans wondering something, though - what is her true hair color?

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Was Susan Kelechi Watson one of you as she acted in the TV series This Is Us? Her years in the Pearson family earned her a couple of award nominations for acting. And while her hair may not have been as closely-watched as Mandy Moore's, her long braided looks had admirers. But that series is now over, and Kelechi appears ready to move on to other things. That included a February haircut - with her medium-long style trimmed to a bouncy chin-length cut.

As Kelechi Watson wrote on Instagram, her "bob is bobbin and the neck is neckin." It gained more than 16,000 likes on social media. But our voters were not as thrilled: two-thirds of them prefer Kelechi Watson's hair long (4-2). "Shorter looks like someone tried to shave a divot into her forehead," one critic of the change said. It actually leaves some space for "butterfly" layers to flex curly muscle. That can be fascinating to watch in motion - but Kelechi Watson had better be careful about pushing it into her eyes for effect.

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Have you wondered if the greatest heads of Super-Hair test their looks before taking them public? Super-model and Ultimate 50 member Cindy Crawford does. She gave it away in early February on her Instagram feed by posting a photo of what she called "not exactly trauma bangs." Crawford noted it was only a test, but she didn't reveal what she did for the test. Did she have clip-in bangs hiding in a closet somewhere?

Perhaps a better way to look at this idea is to compare Crawford with her 21-year-old daughter. Model Kaia Gerber's bangs are real, as far as we know. Should Crawford follow her daughter's example? We asked you that during her birthday week (unplanned). Our voters overwhelmingly said no: 86% said she should stay bang-free (6-1). No one commented, but we're simply saddened that the "test bangs" had a strip covering her left eye. Her one-time effort toward hair perfection has fallen sharply.

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To mix Dutch and English, she clearly made a "Zee change." The bigger puzzle is exactly why Ginger Zee did it. An Instagram post from the ABC News meteorologist 27 January said: "I'm calling them 'flu bangs'... Life is short, cut bangs." So sickness may have led to a cut in her long hair. But Zee added: "I may or may not have watched all three seasons of Emily in Paris..." - as in the bangs of Crown Awards nominee Lily Collins. Zee even added some flips in February for "some shag." (We've seen no conspiracy theories connecting the cut to the rumored tensions at ABC News surrounding Amy Robach.)

Our voters are split by what Zee did. A one-week poll on the bangs found 69% of Hair Fans support them (9-4). But the people leaving comments were skeptical. "What a mess those bangs while be while Ginger is reporting in windy weather," one wrote, "or she'll always wear a cap." Another wondered if Zee's selfie showing off the new look included extensions: "No way her hair grows that fast." Zee apparently was ready for the critics, becuse she responded strongly to one on Twitter. "I like it and so do lots of other folks. And it’s hair. It changes and grows, falls out & grays… it doesn’t define who we are." Except here, of course. Here, it might...

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Adele once told Vanity Fair, "I laugh at every big thing that happens in my career." She said that because she doesn't really consider herself a singer. But at the 2023 Grammy Awards, Adele may have had more tears than laughs. She met Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in person. She reportedly got drunk with Lizzo. She even won an award for Best Pop Solo Performance. And this may top it all - Adele's deep midlength sidepart is your choice for the best hairstyle of the Grammys.

Adele could have had it all (hey, that would make a great song title!) - but she must settle for the most support from our voters. The one-week post-show poll ended with Adele capturing 71% of the votes. Sheryl Crow, who sang during the memorial tribute, received 14%. So did "Other" without a comment. And that leads us to wonder. Did someone really like the Shania Twain look on Grammy night - with the bright red hair that some people on social media compared to a Wendy's restaurant logo?

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TV reporters and morning hosts are supposed to talk about celebrity scandals - not become part of one. But that's what happened to Amy Robach. After several years at ABC News, she was suspended and eventually discharged when news leaked that she'd cheated on her husband with GMA3 co-host T.J. Holmes (who also cheated on his spouse). The fact that Robach wrote a book with her husband about marriage in December 2021 obviously did not help her. But as we examined this, our issue with Robach became different. She quietly grew out the style which made her the only woman to win the Best Short Hair Crown Award three years in a row.

Is a cut at the shoulders or below better for Robach? Our one-week poll found the answer is yes; 75 percent of our Hair Fans chose "longer" in a one-week poll (12-4). Robach turned 50 as out poll ended, so a longer look in "middle age" may go against common thinking. Whether the hair led her to "part" with her husband... no, we'd better leave it at that.

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Photos courtesy E! News

If all you know about Idina Menzel is from the movie Frozen, you clearly don't pay attention to Broadway. She won a Tony Award in 2004 for the musical Wicked. Her medium-long brunette hair could be, well, "Wicked good" at times - almost daring you to move toward it when waves are added. It's a style that Hair Fans wish could be, well, frozen in time. But Menzel decided in January it was time for a big chance. As she wrote on Instagrsm, she went "scissor happy" and had all the length cut away. The result: a wavy bob not even touching Menvel's shoulders.

"So cute, sister!" Frozen co-star Kristen Bell wrote in response to the cut. Our voters almost completely disagreed, as 89% of them preferred Menzel's mane longer in our one-week poll. One was blunt about the cut: "The new look is dumb. What a waste of gorgeous hair." (How many of you would like to know where that trimmed hair was stored, for at least a souvenir?) Another asked: "Did she just put her hair in a ponytail and chop most of it off?" Actually, no - a celebrity stylist did it, then showed it off. It's a middle-aged Menzel look, we suppose - but the beautiful tension over perfect strong hair is over for now.

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Right photo courtesy Wireimage

When we look for timely and interesting quotes about hair for our homepage, we sometimes come across puzzlers. Take this one: "I always had long hair. When you lose it, you realize just how important it is to your identity." It was especially startling, since it came from Delta Goodrem - the singing star who represented Australia in our 2013 AAA Cup and finished second to Egypt. Wait, what?! When did Goodrem lose it? Goodrem cut her hair in early 2020, even a bit shorter than the photo we found from that year. One website called her neck-length summertime cut "radical."

Which look of Goodrem is "gooder" to you? It was close, but our week-long poll ended with the short cut gaining 60% of your votes (3-2). Comments were restored to our "Edge poll" during the week, but none were left. We're personally glad Goodrem grew the cut back out to reclaim her "identity", because we think the long look actually is easier for her to control.

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Do an image search for Claire Danes and you might get a surprise. The actress has adjusted her blonde hair slowly and successfully over several decades. It was below the shoulders and a dangerous sidepart during her years starring in the drama Homeland. That look won a vote here for the best hair of the 2012 Emmy Awards. In the miniseries Fleishman is in Trouble, Danes displays a shorter chin-length bob that's even more dangerous. Yet Hair Fans clearly still are impressed with her - because she took that shorter style to the 2023 Golden Globe Awards and won the best hairstyle vote again.

Danes adjusted her mane as she presented an award, barely keeping it out of her left eye. That work paid off, as she won 56% of your votes in our five-day poll. The rest of the field clashed for second place: Angela Bassett, Ana Gasteyer and Michelle Yeoh tied with 11%. So did an "other" - and to our diappointment, Sparklit would not allow a comment to be left with that name. In fact, it apparently hadn't allowed comments for weeks. We're asking about that - and hoping our own comment gets through.

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She may have the most admired set of bangs in fashion magazines today. Yet when it comes to our Hair Fans, Dakota Johnson might as well be in the middle of North Dakota. The actress and model never has been nominated for a Crown Award. Yet the cameras love her - perhaps all the way to the boundary line. Instagram photos in December showed Johnson no longer a typical brunette. In fact, the bangs were brushed back and a bit hard to spot. Johnson had turned what skeptics might call a "bump-it blonde."

Is Johnson's hair better on the brighter side? Our eight-day question turned into a struggle among our voters - but the blonde look prevailed with 63% support (5-3). We should note that the photo was for a movie Johnson is shooting called Daddio. How many Hair Fans wish they could be her dad, with rights to play with her hair all day long?

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