Catch those new photos of Sinead O'Connor performing in Ireland? (See the video in the gallery at left for a sample.) She is, gasp, no longer the slim, bald 20-something who captivated fans, and the Internet has not been kind in pointing this out. Lay off, write Mimi Turner at the Hollywood Reporter and Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon. O'Connor, now 44 and the mother of four, "has always turned her back on the conventions of beauty that are apparently necessary for media acceptance," writes Turner. "The prickly distaste that she still manifests for a prototypical feminine style seems remarkably unchanged from the attitudes she held in her youth."
O'Connor also has battled bipolar disorder for years, and the antidepressants she takes can cause weight gain. "To be able to grow older is a gift," writes Williams. "To be on medication that can save your life is a blessing. A little thickening around the middle seems like a small price to pay." Besides, O'Connor still has that amazing gift that made her a once-in-a-generation talent: "Tempered by life and experience, that clear, achingly lovely voice has only become more poignantly astonishing," writes Williams.