Coachella? More Like Arichella: How Ariana Grande Stole The Show

 
PHOTO: COURTESY GETTY IMAGES

PHOTO: COURTESY GETTY IMAGES

 

If you’re like me and you’re seeing Instagram models and celebrities posting pictures of themselves in the desert, it’s because Coachella is officially upon us.

If you don’t know, Coachella is basically the modern day Woodstock. It’s an annual two-weekend musical festival held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. After being around for nearly 20 years, Coachella is one of the biggest musical festivals in the world. The biggest celebrities fly out to this festival, as well as regular music festival lovers.

The lineup of performers this year was absolutely insane. With outstanding performers like Childish Gambino, Kacey Musgraves, Solange, Khalid, Zedd, and literally dozens of others, it’s bound to be one for the books. But there’s one performer this year that completely stole the show: Ariana Grande.

 
PHOTO: The full 2019 Coachella Lineup. COURTESY the official Coachella Website

PHOTO: The full 2019 Coachella Lineup. COURTESY the official Coachella Website

 

This year, Ariana’s one of the three headliners to take on the stage. Before she even stepped onto the stage, she already made history by becoming the youngest artist ever to headline Coachella at 25 years old. Ariana Grande performed at Coachella last year, but as a surprise performance where she sang her then new single “No Tears Left to Cry.”

Ariana Grande’s setlist for her first performance was way beyond impressive. She sang an impressive 25 songs. She started with her #girlboss banger “God is a Woman” then sang songs from her new album Thank U, Next such as “Bad Idea,” “7 rings,” and “Needy,” just to name a few. She also did some of her other fiercely popular songs like “Breathin,” “Be Alright,” and “Dangerous Woman”. She closed her set list with an encore performance of the one and only “Thank U, Next,” which in my opinion is the only proper way to close her show.

But probably the most talked about aspect of her show is the amazing surprise guests she brought on stage.

Process this slowly as you read the following statement: Ariana Grande reunited NSYNC. I repeat this is not a drill. You heard me correctly. Ariana Grande brought the iconic boy band from the 90s to the stage and they all performed “Tearin’ Up My Heart” together. Ariana was fangirling right with us, jokingly saying on stage “I’ve been rehearsing my whole life for this moment!” This was clearly evident because she knew every single one of NSYNC’s signature dance moves, which they of course did during the song.

Each of the NSYNC members took to their Instagrams to thank Ariana for inviting them to perform with her.

“Thanks @arianagrande for having us ... was a great time and a chance to perform with my brothers once again ! #arianagrande #cochella2019” -- Joey Fatone

“Well that was fun! 🙌🏼 Thank you @arianagrande for letting us play in the desert with you. #Coachella2019 @nsync #ASYNC#MaxMartin” -- Lance Bass

“I’m humble and grateful. Thank you @arianagrande for giving me a moment I will never forget. It was better than a dream because you are real.” -- JC Chavez

Chris Kirkpatrick shared an adorable backstage selfie of them with Ariana and her brother, Frankie Grande.

Ariana also shared her heartfelt sentiments about being onstage with her idols, saying, “i’ll be recovering from this moment for the next twenty years tbh. the nicest human beings possible. 🖤

it can go either way when you meet your childhood heroes and no one has ever been kinder or cooler or sillier or more lovely to be around. ever! also how the fuck do y’all still sound and dance exactly like you did when my mom and i followed you around on tour when i was 5? thank you thank you thank you for your time and energy and i love you so much forever. 🖤”

Sadly Justin Timberlake, former lead singer of NSYNC, couldn’t be there to perform with his boys, but he had nothing but great things to say of the performance. He shared a photo of the boys with Ariana and said “You guys killed it last night.” Ariana Grande replied “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. WE MISSED YOU” and JC Chavez replied “Love you sir! Family for life!”

NSYNC wasn’t the only guest performer Ariana brought out. After her fans nearly died from shock of NSYNC, Ariana got them even more electrified when she brought out Nicki Minaj to sing their famous songs “Side to Side” and “Bang Bang.” Their performance didn’t run as smoothly as NSYNC’s did. There was a lot of sound malfunctions, which caused Nicki not to hear any of the music, thus creating an awkward moment where Nicki looked into the crowd not knowing what to do. Ariana stood by her girl Nicki though and sang through the technical difficulties. They still slayed the stage and clearly looked like they were having fun.  

 
Ariana and Nicki getting through a sound malfunction during “Bang Bang”. Photo cOURTESY Kevin Mazur

Ariana and Nicki getting through a sound malfunction during “Bang Bang”. Photo cOURTESY Kevin Mazur

 

Ariana still had one more guest artist to bring out onto the stage and boy did she choose a good one. She brought out the legendary P Diddy and Mase! She sang the banger  “Mo Money Mo Problems” with them, and at the end of the song, Ariana paid tribute to rappers Nipsey Hussle and Mac Miller, Ariana’s ex, who both unfortunately died within the past year.

Ariana rightfully got choked up during her tribute to Mac, and said sweet words about the moment on Instagram, while thanking P Diddy for joining her on stage.

“thank u from the bottom of my heart to everybody who dedicated their time and energy to this beautiful moment 🖤 i’m almost done posting about it. and an extra thank u to @diddy for the most special words and energy. 🖤 i was kinda speechless n trying not to cry. i love u forreal. thank u. “ -- Ariana Grande

Critics everywhere are giving Ariana major compliments for her stellar performance.

“She delivered with such power that her vocals could have shaken spines right off a cactus” - Billboard

“The most dominant figure in pop music…certainly committed fully to her task at hand.” - Vanity Fair

“Ariana Grande’s Coachella set made it even harder to come for her crown.” - Vulture

“Ariana Grande’s performance was the can’t-miss event of Coachella 2019.” - UpRoxx

“Ariana Grande’s Coachella headline set is a breathtaking moment of light in a dark world.”  - NME

Ariana’s fan base, the Arianators, showed their love for Ariana on twitter:

@onelovesbutera said,”ariana had the toughest job in the world following beychella ... and she came. and she did what she had to do and more in her own beautiful way, radiating light to everyone watching as she did it. i couldn’t be prouder. beychella, arichella, i love seeing women make history.”

@stussyjoseph said, “absolutely stunning, y’all can’t deny her vocals sounded amazing.”

@agloml said, “i’m proud of my baby, she really did THAT. queen of Coachella. God is a woman, for real.

Probably Ariana’s biggest fan, her older brother and celebrity personality, Frankie Grande was a completely proud brother when he posted on his Instagram, “what a magical night! i am BEYOND PROUD of my little sister for her performance at #coachella! she sung her heart out! hitting notes i have never heard her hit and performing with a passion so strong it was felt miles away... her vulnerability allowed her to captivate and connect with every single one of the 120k people watching her in person and the countless people watching at home. her playful nature makes her the most real pop icon on this earth. i mean she got to perform onstage with all of her idols growing up! how incredible!? and she got to sing about her remarkable journey over the past year... a journey which instead of tearing her down, allowed her to SHINE BRIGHTER! @arianagrande you are a star. one that will light up this planet for many many years to come... for yours is a talent that will last and grow for decades... and i can not wait to stand beside you and see all of the magnificent things yet to come. i love u. so much. 🖤”

Ariana Grande not only slayed the stage, made history, and reunited freaking NSYNC, she also was the performer when Billie Eilish and Justin Bieber met for the first time.

Billie Eilish, a 17 year old American singer who has celebrities and fans alike obsessing over her, and who also performed this year at Coachella, got to meet her lifelong celebrity crush, Justin Bieber. What Eilish didn’t expect was for Justin to be a huge fan of hers. Billie and Justin were both at Ariana’s performance and while Billie was jamming out to “Bad Idea,” Justin surprised her in the VIP area. Billie was in complete shock, looking around in disbelief. Justin just stood there and stared at her for a solid 20 seconds, which was his way of saying, “Dude. You know you’re a freaking badass right? Come on now.” They finally embraced and the crowd went wild.

 
PHOTO: COURTESY JUSTIN BEIBER INSTAGRAM

PHOTO: COURTESY JUSTIN BEIBER INSTAGRAM

 

Justin posted this to his Instagram story. He captioned it “So this happened...long and bright future ahead of you.” Clearly Billie is in complete disbelief that she met her celebrity idol, as she has her hand on her head trying to wrap her head around this moment.

Even Billie’s mom, Maggie May Baird, knew how special of a moment this was for her daughter and posted a sweet photo on Instagram of Billie and Justin hugging, saying, “This night! Thank you @justinbieber for making this perfect moment for Billie. Words will never express how grateful we are to you for all that you have meant to Billie and for being such a huge part of our lives.”

As a long time Ariana Grande fan, I’m so proud of her and how far she’s come. Who would have thought that the red-headed ditzy girl from Nickelodeon’s “Victorious” would one day become one of the world’s biggest pop stars and the fourth woman and youngest performer ever to headline at Coachella?! The sky’s the limit for Ariana and just like her song “NASA,” Ariana is going to fly up, up, and away and continue to keep transcending the music industry.

CultureKelli Carmack