Ariana Grande’s debut performance of “thank u, next,” her breakup anthem that succeeds at being both petty and empowering, was a pretty fine reflection of her life of late.
There were some bumps and maybe even a few tears, but she persisted (and managed to find the fun), serving some on-point vocals as always.
The “Sweetner” singer took the stage on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” this week in her first appearance since breaking off her engagement with “Saturday Night Live” star Pete Davidson and the sudden death of her ex-boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller, from a drug overdose.
Grande chose to channel the classic musical number from “The First Wives Club,” wearing bridal white alongside her two backup singers to resemble the film’s stars Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Dianne Keaton.
But she ran into some trouble dancing around the set, which was made to look like a wedding reception, stumbling when she stepped down from a chair.
“Oh, my god!” Grande shouted as she recovered from the fall, then almost seamlessly continued performing.
“This one gon’ last / ’Cause her name is Ari / And I’m so good with that,” she sang without missing a note, adding a self-deprecating chuckle.
She moved into more emotional territory as the song progressed, holding back tears while singing about her future wedding day.
“One day I’ll walk down the aisle / Holding hands with my mama / I’ll be thanking my dad / ‘Cause she grew from the drama,” she sang. “Only wanna do it once, real bad / Gon’ make that shit last / God forbid something happens / Least this song is a smash.”
But, just as the song says, Grande knows how to handle the pain. She finished the performance with a smile, and danced down the aisles of the set while the audience cheered.
“Thank you for being here. That was amazing! That was awesome. You’ve had a rough year. We all love you. We support you,” host Ellen DeGeneres said after the song.
Grande, who memorializes Miller as an “angel” on the track, recently paid tribute to him online after a fan sent her a video of the late rapper listening to her song “R.E.M.”
“His voice and laugh,” Grande wrote in response. “He is supposed to be here.”
Watch her full performance on “Ellen” above.