The days of Avril Lavigne's superstardom almost feel like a fever dream.
We all remember where we were when we heard "Sk8ter Boi" for the first time, how much we treasured and related to the mindless exultation of "Complicated," and our legitimate dismay at her divorce from Chad Kroeger after only two years of marriage.
Yet, like a fever dream, Lavigne disappeared, leaving us cold, clammy, and left to wonder what became of her. Five years later, Lavigne seemingly returned. Over the last year, the singer has announced a new album, released two singles, and attempted to silence those who thought she was a clone. But are we sure it's Lavigne who's doing the talking?
Let me back up: according to a Brazilian blog titled Avril Esta Mora (Avril is Dead), the real Lavigne committed suicide back in 2003 after the death of her grandfather. Her label at the time, Arista Records, apparently knew that they were dead in the water after losing their top selling artist, unless…
The singer was replaced by Melissa Vandella, an Avril Lavigne look-alike that can do everything the original could do. But America can't be fooled so easily: "Those who support the [conspiracy] on Twitter back their claim with inconsistencies over the years in the appearance of the star's skin, jawline, eye corners and fashion style as well as handwriting," wrote the
BBC. Another supposed give away was a promotional Vandella did in 2017 for Slim Secret Snacks. Fans were quick to see through this facade. "Avril Lavigne would never promote a Slim Secret bar," one Twitter user wrote. "The jig is up Melissa."
Fast forward to 2018: the internet rumors have cooled down, and Vandella feels it's the right time to return to the spotlight as Avril Lavigne. She released her first single in five years titled "Head Above Water," claiming that her disappearance/hiatus was due to a crippling case of Lymes disease. "I was able to write songs from my bed, and 'Head Above Water' is a song that I wrote a night that I felt like I was actually dying and had kind of accepted it," Lavigne – I mean Vandella – told Billboard Magazine. The single, which is melodramatic and awful, is currently the singer's highest-charting song since "Complicated." She followed it up with another perfunctory single titled "Tell Me It's Over," which is exactly what the world has been begging of Vandella for years now.
"Yeah, some people think that I'm not the real me which is so weird!" Vandella (posing as Lavigne) told the Australian radio station KIIS 106.5. In another interview with Entertainment Weekly, Vandella stood by her claim, calling the conspiracy "just a dumb internet rumor." She added, "It's so dumb, and I look the exact same. On one hand, everyone is like, 'Oh my god, you look the same,' and on the other hand people are like, 'Oh my god, she died.'" Please note that Vandella did not directly deny that she was a clone at any point in either interview.
And finally, Vandella announced yesterday that she would release another single with Nicki Minaj, continuing to pose as late singer Avril Lavigne. The track, titled "Dumb Blonde," dropped today, and it's the last single to be released ahead of Vandella's next album Head Above Water, which drops Friday. "I am a fucking cherry bomb, I ain't no stupid Barbie doll," Vandella sings, "watch me prove you wrong." It seems the clone is trying to tell us she's not a clone, but who are you gonna believe? A clone, or the Internet?
Dumb Blonde (feat. Nicki Minaj)
Mackenzie Cummings-Grady is a creative writer who resides in the Brooklyn area, Mackenzie's work has previously appeared in The Boston Globe, Billboard, and Metropolis Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @mjcummingsgrady.
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