On Saturday night, in a masterful bit of pop-cultural tabloid-manipulating theatre, Ariana Grande released her new single “thank u, next,” a sort of affectionate kiss-off to her various famous exes. Pete Davidson, who until very recently was Grande’s fiancé, had made a joke about their breakup on an SNL preview, and Grande didn’t appreciate it. So half an hour before the latest episode of SNL started, Grande put her new single out into the world, and it almost immediately became a meme to rival “me voting in 2016 vs. me voting today.”
On today’s episode of Ellen, Grande performed the song live for the first time. She dressed in a sort of pop-star permutation of a wedding dress, and she and her two backup singers did a heavily choreographed routine that, from what I understand, was based on the 1996 movie The First Wives Club, even though Grande has never been anyone’s wife.
The performance was almost ridiculously charming. It was a fun dance and a good song, but the moment that will stick in everyone’s head comes when Grande trips on one of her vertiginous heels and interrupts herself for a quick “Ohmygod!” Throughout the rest of the performance, she keeps fighting back giggles. She has reached the celebrity realm where she can fuck up and it makes us like her more. Watch the performance below.
“Thank u, next” is out now on the streaming services.