Looking at pictures of celebrities strolling down the red carpet is all well and good. But Celebuzz thinks it would be so much better if you could see them up close -- pores and pupils close.
In advance of the Oscars, the Los Angeles celebrity website ( www.celebuzz.com) on Wednesday launched a feature that allows you to click on a celebrity photo for a mega-zoom.
There are more than 1,200 celebrity news sites in the U.S., according to Hitwise, and more than 84% of Web users visit an entertainment site each month, according to ComScore. New celebrity news and gossip sites seem to spring up every day like tween starlets.
It might be the ultimate sign of just how in-your-face Americans are with celebrities these days that you can look online to literally see every line on Renee Zellweger's face. But Celebuzz says it's just giving the people what they want. Plus, without zoom, how would you be able to see the glitter paint on Beyonce's shiny cheeks?
"There is a genuine appetite to see the details," said Karina Kogan, general manager of Celebuzz, which is owned by Buzznet, also a Los Angeles company.
Will seeing all the gory details turn us off to celebrities? Sibyl Goldman, general manager of Yahoo Inc.'s Entertainment Group, which runs the site Omg!, says people are more interested in seeing celebrities looking beautiful than they are in seeing blemishes and hung-over stars.
"We're finding more and more that people are interested in the pretty stuff, like glamour shots and people looking really good," she said. "It's about entertainment and escapism."
You could say, of course, that Celebuzz is one-upping all the other celebrity sites by offering the zoom feature. Us Weekly may be able to show you what shoes a celebrity wears to an awards show, but only Celebuzz can show you the veins in her ankles.
Cool! And gross.
Says Kogan: "You couldn't get that close if you were there."