Pink and Christina Aguilera do not have beef. Pink and Christina Aguilera had beef. Past tense. In the former. But here on the present-day internet, their feud lives on. At last night’s AMAs, Christina performed a tribute to Whitney Houston for the 25th anniversary of The Bodyguard. There were high notes, melismas, expressive hands, and many reaction shots from one-time rival Pink. Some read Pink’s face following Christina’s take on that note in “I Will Always Love You” (you know the one) as nothing but cringe, Chrissy Teigen style. The look you make when the person standing directly in front of you in a congested room farts. The internet agreed: This was shade. Side-eye. Shots fired. But what if it wasn’t?
Pink saw the screenshots of her alleged cringe and quickly set the record straight. Responding to a fan who pointed out that Pink and Christina are no longer enemies, she tweeted that Christina’s performance left in her tears, happy ones.
It’s true that Pink’s perceived cringe was not her only reaction. She cried, she danced, she clapped, and stood for Christina, as the camerapeople (who are not slick) continuously showed the viewers at home. That “cringe,” Pink seemed to say, was the look of stunned adulation that tends to be misconstrued for contempt when you suffer from Resting Bitch Face. “I think people think I’m really angry a lot of the time,” Pink explained to Vulture last month, discussing that frequent mischaracterization. “When you think of me, or the caricature of me, it’s this snarly person.” Unfortunately, the desire for an ongoing feud between Pink and Christina has a long, not entirely unfounded history.
It started circa 2001, when four divas of that era — Pink, Christina, Mya, and Lil Kim, plus Missy Elliott on production — united to cover “Lady Marmalade” for Moulin Rouge! But because there can only be one lead female vocalist, according to the rules of men who run pop music, a power struggle quickly emerged. Pink recalled in a 2009 VH1 Behind the Music special: “[Label exec] Ron Fair walked in. He didn’t say hi to any of us and said, ‘What’s the high part? What’s the most singing part? Christina’s going to take that part.’ I stood up, and I said ‘Hi. How are you? So nice of you to introduce yourself. I’m Pink. She will not be taking that part. I think that’s what the fucking meeting’s about.’” Christina did ultimately get the high part, but the drama didn’t end there. Revisiting the feud once again last month, Pink revealed that Christina apparently once attempted to punch her in the face at a nightclub because of some residual tension.
But with time having done its healing, the pair have since buried the hatchet. The two grew up and “hugged it out.” Last year, Christina invited Pink on The Voice to be a mentor for the singers on her team. This summer, Pink explained once and for all (or so she thought) that she and Christina had “made amends,” after a troll tried to revive the beef. “Want to point out an awful new phenomenon of the last 10’years. We can no longer be happy for each other,” she tweeted. To her point, both Pink and Christina had show-stopping, career-affirming nights at the AMAs deserving of shared celebration. Pink performed while scaling the side of a hotel! (Christina, for what it’s worth, had no reaction — that we saw — to that or the “cringe.”) So if it’s bad blood you’re after, in 2017, invest in Taylor versus Katy. Or more catastrophic: Trump versus everyone.