One taught me love, one taught me patience: If we take a look back on Ari’s last couple of years at the Grammys, the same could be said. Ariana Grande’s Grammys 2020 performance video was an example of what she had in store in 2019 when the Grammys canceled her performance at the last minute. Now, we finally see what Ariana, 26, had envisioned for the Grammys stage all along.
Ari started with an emotional performance of her song “Imagine” from her 2019 album Thank U Next. The song, which Ariana performed with a violin orchestra, is believed to be a tribute to her late ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller, who had an “Imagine” tattoo before his fatal overdose in 2018. Behind her was also a circle, which some fans believe was a reference to Miller’s just-released album, Circles. After the ballad, Ariana transitioned to a slowed-down version of “7 Rings,” which she sang as her backup dancers transitioned her outfit from a black ballgown to a pink faux-fur robe. Ariana then walked to a second set, which was designed as an all-pink bedroom as she twerked with her backup dancers and threw cash at the camera.
The former Nickelodeon star ended her performance by singing the bridge and chorus from “Thank U Next.” As she sang the song, which references her relationship with Miller, Grande choked up for a few seconds before she continued onto the track’s chorus. The pop star ended her performance by taking off her ring, putting it back into a box and smiling at the camera. According to fans, the moment is believed to be shade at Grande’s ex-fiance, Pete Davidson, whom she was engaged to for five months in 2018.
Ariana’s performance honored rapper Mac Miller, whom she dated for over a year from sometime in 2016 to early 2018. Shortly after the pair split, Ariana began dating comedian Pete Davidson. The new couple got engaged quickly after news of their relationship surfaced, however, it was shortlived. Mac tragically passed away in Sept. 2018, and Ariana broke things off with Pete soon after. Since then, the songstress has spoken at length about her own mental health amid the breakups and death of her loved one. One of her outlets, of course, was music. This year, the Grammys is recognizing much of the work that came out of her grief.
In case you need a refresher: Ahead of last year’s Grammys, Ariana and the Grammys producers were entrenched in disagreements over what songs she could perform. She was determined to perform her lead single “7 Rings,” but producers refused. Ari still managed to win her very first Grammy for Best Pop Album for Sweetener in 2019, but the backlash following her canceled performance raged on. It looks like we just needed to wait a whole year for the Grammys team to come to their senses. Now that they did, this year’s medley performance by Ariana is all the more special.
Ariana is up for five Grammys: Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Best Pop Album for “Thank U, Next.” She was also nominated for and Best Pop Solo Performance, which went to Lizzo, and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, which Lil Nas X picked up for his remix of “Old Town Road” with Billy Ray Cyrus.
Like this year’s youngest leading lady Billie Eilish and powerhouse vocalist Lizzo, this is the first time Ariana has been nominated for top general field categories. It’s also the first time she’s received more than two nominations in one year, officially making this a record-breaking Grammys for the pop star. We already love this night of women at the helm.
The 62nd GRAMMY Awards is broadcasting live on CBS at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020.