A picture of Justin Bieber kissing his tour mate Ariana Grande sparked hysterical speculation by fans yesterday, which led to the songstress deleting the snap.
The affectionate cheek kiss was planted by Bieber, 19, on a smiling Grande, 20, while backstage at his Tampa, Florida show on Thursday, August 8.
Grande, who shares a mutual manager in Scooter Braun, has only recently joined Bieber’s Believe tour. Tampa was the second of her three support dates with the Canadian.
But the harmless selfie has already set off talk that it could make Bieber’s on-off girlfriend Selena Gomez jealous, despite the Spring Breakers actress’ recent comments that she is single.
Ariana tweeted the kiss snap to Justin when he sent her a message after meeting her grandparents at the Tampa pre-show “Meet and Greets.”
“@ArianaGrande post that pic and tell your grandma she is a cutie,” he wrote.
Ariana replied: “You’re crazy and nonna says thank you, she loves you,” uploading the photo.
Although Justin and Ariana have been friends for years and are just two of the artists Braun takes care of, Beliebers responded with hysterical comments and pictures that substituted Selana’s face for Grande’s.
No prizes for guessing what happened next.
At some point the avalanche of comments apparently became too much for Grande as she posted a message asking fans to dial down the madness, some of which became hostile.
“Everyone, girls are allowed to be friends with guys. I’m a lady. Chill out,” she wrote.
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) August 8, 2013
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) August 8, 2013
Ahead of her anticipated debut album Yours Truly which drops on September 3, the brunette has just released “Right There” which features rapper Big Sean to mark her album becoming available for pre-order.
Meanwhile, Bieber is fast approaching the end of his North American dates.
The singer posted multiple messages on his Twitter account yesterday indicating he is very happy about that fact.
Referring to his life-changing meet with Usher back in 2007 in Atlanta after Braun discovered him, the teen star wrote: “Incredible show tonight! Thanks Tampa. One more show to go. Makes sense that it should end in ATL!”
1 more to go before break. 1 more. Gonna go out big! #ATL
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) August 9, 2013
Notwithstanding the thousands of fans flocking to his shows, Bieber’s second North American leg has been critically mauled. It’s possible the star is battling fatigue in addition to continuing tabloid stress and legal struggles.
The most recent of these is fall out from a brawl at Southampton’s South Pointe nightclub in New York, during which a clubgoer was allegedly assaulted by Bieber’s bodyguards after an argument.
As well as investigating the bodyguards, New York police are reportedly also trying to determine if the “Beauty and a Beat” directed his bodyguards’ actions.