After some bickering last year, the Ariana Grande performance we have been waiting for at the Grammys is finally happening. Grande and the Grammys made matching announcements on Instagram that seem more than happy to say “thank u, next” last year’s disagreements in favour of a fresh start.
Grande joins a star-studded lineup of fellow nominees Billie Eilish and Lizzo as well as music legends Aerosmith, Blake Shelton, and Gwen Stefani. Grande is nominated for five awards this year: Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best Pop Vocal Album. So it seems their troubled past is well behind her and the Grammys.
Last year, Grande was set to perform at the Grammys when she pulled out “due to a disagreement with Grammy producers over which songs she would perform.” Grande allegedly wanted to perform her then-current single, “7 rings,” which didn’t comply with Grammys decision that artists perform the music for which they are nominated. If that was the case, we might finally get that “7 rings” performance this year, because Grande’s single is nominated for Record of the Year as well as Best Pop Solo Performance for the song itself. Though it’s likely that Grande will want to perform something newer.
Ken Ehrlich, the executive producer of the Grammy Awards, spoke to E! News at the time, saying, “I don’t think [Ariana will perform], there’s not enough time to make it work.” That’s not how Grande saw it. The singer posted a statement on Twitter explaining her side of the story. “i’ve kept my mouth shut but now you’re lying about me,” said Grande’s statement. According to her, she offered three songs for Grammys producers to choose from, but felt her creativity was stifled in favour of industry politics. “hope that helps everyone understand my decision. i am grateful for the acknowledgment this year,” Grande added. Despite disagreements, she still went on to win Best Pop Vocal Album for Sweetener.
This will be Ehrlich’s last year producing the Grammys. He has produced them since 1980 and clashed with artists including Grande, Frank Ocean, and Lorde in recent years over creative differences. The Grammys are considerably changing the producer lineup overall. Deborah Dugan was recently appointed the president and CEO of The Recording Academy, the first woman to hold the position in its 62-year history. She is replacing Neil Portnow, who infamously suggested that women needed to “step up” if they wanted to be nominated for more awards and given more performance opportunities.
If we’re using the Grammys performance guidelines to inform our guesses as to which songs Grande might perform this year, it is anyone’s guess. Based on her nominations, she could perform anything from “thank u, next,” to “7 rings” to her single “boyfriend” with Social House, but we have been waiting the past year for this performance, so what’s a couple more weeks?
The 62nd Grammy Awards air on Sunday, January 26 on ET Canada at 8 p.m. ET.