Ariana Grande season is basically here. Grande has recorded a new album with Max Martin and Pharrell, and while she hasn’t yet announced anything as concrete as a release date, the charm offensive has already begun. Grande has released the very good first single “No Tears Left To Cry,” and she’s dropped by Coachella for a surprise appearance. And last night, Jimmy Fallon devoted an entire episode of The Tonight Show to Grande.
Grande gave Fallon her first real interview since the horrific bombing attack on her Manchester show last year. The interview wasn’t about Manchester, though Fallon did enthuse about how “strong” Grande is for keeping her career going after the bombing. Mostly, they talked about the new album, which is called Sweetener and which will be out this summer.
Grande says that she gave the album its title as a sort of vague nod to anyone or anything that makes a bad situation better. She also reeled off some song titles: “R.E.M.,” “The Light Is Coming,” “God Is A Woman,” “Raindrops.” The album opens with a song that samples the Four Seasons’ “An Angel Cried,” a 1964 song that, it turned out, was co-written by Grande’s grandfather’s best friend. Here’s the interview:
Grande also gave the first TV performance of “No Tears Left To Cry,” singing it on a specially-designed set built to evoke the song’s video:
Grande and Fallon also played a goofy game called “Musical Genre Challenge,” in which Grande sang an Evanescence-style cover of Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” and a ’90s diva-pop version of Drake’s “God’s Plan.” Please be advised that this video also includes Fallon doing a ska take on Ed Sheeran’s “Shape Of You,” and if that sounds like actual hell on earth to you, then I’m right there with you:
You didn’t think that was going to be the only Fallon comedy bit, did you? We will never be that lucky. Here’s Grande and Fallon doing a Bravo-network parody called NBD:
And here’s a bit where Grande’s fans sing “One Last Time” and then Grande jumps out to surprise them and everyone screams and cries and collapses to the floor and Fallon sort of grins and claps in the background:
Aaaand that’s it. Do we need to worry about Jimmy Fallon? Has he somehow gotten more ass-kissy? Is he responding to the Colbert surge by turning into a giggly version of early-’90s Arsenio?