Colleen Ballinger is a comedian, actress, singer and the first content creator we will be taking a look at in our project. She is best known for her character Miranda Sings, posting videos of the character on YouTube and performing her one-woman comedy act on tour in theaters across the globe. She created the comically talentless, egotistical and eccentric character to satirize the many YouTube videos featuring people singing badly, but who appear unaware of their lack of talent. In her videos and stage act, the narcissistic character sings and dances badly, discusses current events that she misunderstands, gives inept “tutorials,” collaborates with other YouTubers, and rants about her personal issues and her critics.
Ballinger also features comedy and lifestyle videos on her personal YouTube channel, PsychoSoprano, and a vlog channel, Colleen Vlogs. Her YouTube channels, combined, have surpassed 2.1 billion total views. The Miranda Sings channel has more than 7 million subscribers, and the character has more than 6 million Instagram followers.
The character, in it’s earliest stages, was little more than a running sketch that Ballinger enjoyed making for herself and her friends, however, four years later, Ballinger now has her own book, live tour, and Netflix original series centered around the character. Along with her success in her career, long-time viewers also had the opportunity of watching Ballinger’s romantic life unfold as she began dating, marrying, and eventually divorcing long time partner Joshua Evans.
While many aspects of her personal life have become common knowledge for die-hard Colleen Ballinger fans, her character still holds the spotlight. On January 14, 2016, Ballinger uploaded a video entitled “PREGNANCY/NETFLIX ANNOUNCEMENT” which not only revealed her then-upcoming series “Hater’s Back Off,” but poked fun at the numerous rumors concerning Ballinger being pregnant, which she debunked.
However, seven months later, her now ex-husband Joshua Evans, made a video entitled “Heartbroken,” announcing their divorce. Evans explained there was no ill will between the pair, but it was Ballinger who requested the divorce. Ballinger made a similar video, but has since deleted it with no explanation.
In the video – which had been viewed more than 6 million times – Ballinger does not explicitly reveal the reason for the divorce and acknowledges that fans have been shielded from from the difficulties in their relationship.
In the video, Ballinger states, “You’ve watched us date, you’ve watched us get engaged, you’ve watched us get married,” she says. “We’ve shown you everything because we wanted to, and I don’t regret any of that, but, you know, we chose to not share with you the hard parts of our relationship. And there were a lot of hard parts of our relationship.”
At the same time, Ballinger was finishing her second nation-wide tour, and preparing for the debut of her Netflix original show. However, save for the video she’d made announcing the divorce, Ballinger has made no mention or reference to her former relationship since.
As can be expected, the response by fans was split. Not unlike any divorce with a child element, many fans chose sides. Both channels saw a small fluctuation in subscriber count and comment content. This writer speculates that the backlash of her initial video is the main reason Ballinger has avoided discussing the topic in videos all together.
This writer also believes the timing of the announcement was intentional. Albeit a cynical perspective, the fact is that this announcement came just weeks before the release of her television show. Was it a publicity stunt? Or simply coincidental timing? Of course, the two really did split, but why did she feel compelled to create the video? She explains it, herself. She felt obligated. Obligated to millions of people she’d never even met. Why? Genuine concern for her fans? Or fear of backlash?