Maybe you’re just now noticing that Ariana Grande stumbled during her Ellen performance. But the singer herself is way ahead of you. Not only has Grande responded to the trip-up via an Instagram Live video, but she also revealed that she had the opportunity to re-record her performance for The Ellen DeGeneres Show after she faltered, but decided not to.
The Instagram Live footage was recorded after Grande filmed the Ellen segment on Tuesday, Nov. 6, and had vanished by the time video of the performance dropped on Wednesday, Nov. 7. But according to fans who watched the Live video before it disappeared, the sweetener singer said she settled on the take with the stumble in it because it felt “more natural”. So just bear that in mind if you find yourself feeling sorry for Grande after her near-fall. Not only does the young artist not mind you seeing her trip over her heels, but this is actually the version she selected for you to watch.
But hey, that doesn’t mean it won’t give you a chuckle to see, because anytime something doesn’t go according to plan, it becomes all the more compelling and authentic. This appearance was particularly noteworthy because it was the first public performance of Grande’s newest single, “thank u, next.” And no matter how you feel about the young singer, there’s no denying that there was a lot of attention on her for the premiere performance. Whether because of morbid curiosity about her personal life or genuine concern about the pop star after the year she’s had, there are a lot of sets of eyes trained on Grande in this moment.
As if all the pressure wasn’t enough to cause the stumble, there were also the star’s precariously high heels, the fact that she was stepping down from a chair, the extremely personal content of “thank u, next,” the global fascination with her recent breakup… we could go on.
At any rate, all those factors combined into the briefest of moments where gravity got the better of Grande. In fact, it happened so quickly that if she hadn’t emphasized it with an out loud “oh my god!” straight into the microphone, anyone but the most eagle-eyed fans could have missed it altogether. But clearly the near-miss was jarring for the 25-year-old, which makes it all the more impressive that she continued on, with just a few giggles belying her nervousness.
It’s the mark of a true professional that Grande finished the performance, and it’s the mark of a real, live human being that she decided to leave the flawed moment in the final video instead of recording a clean copy. Hopefully, in addition to being very fun to watch on loop, the video will also serve as a humanizing reminder of the real person behind Grande’s celebrity. She’s having to live an intensely personal and painful period of her life in the spotlight, coping with tragedies that have come one on top of the other. And if she stumbles a bit mid-performance, well, who can blame her?
What’s amazing is that even after the bombing at her concert in Manchester, the death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller by overdose, and the ending of her engagement to Pete Davidson, Grande has stepped forward instead of retreated. There are bound to be stumbles on the way — some of them literal — but it’s how she responds to them that matters. And the fact that she’s including them as part of her image, with the imperfect alongside the perfect, bodes well not only for her career, but for her overall mental health.