On paper, the idea of an Ariana Grande performance at the 61st Grammy Awards made the utmost of sense.
She may very well be the hottest name in music at the moment. Her “thank u, next” and “7 rings” have been the biggest hits of the past few months. She is releasing a new album this weekend. She is nominated for key pop category awards. She is a talented performer.
Multiple media have nonetheless revealed that such a performance will not be happening.
The going story, as reported by outlets like Variety and Hits Daily Double, is that Grande and the Grammy producers could not reach an agreement on what she would be performing. Grande reportedly wanted to perform “7 rings,” but the producers had another selection in mind.
According to Variety, the producers eventually agreed to let her perform “7 rings” as part of a medley, with the reported condition that they would get to pick the second song. Uninterested in that condition, Grande opted to pass on performing at Sunday’s ceremony.
Addressing the matter to the Associated Press, producer Ken Ehrlich said, “when we finally got the point where we thought maybe it would work, she felt it was too late for her to pull something together for sure.”
That comment prompted the first public acknowledgement from Grande, who claims Ehrlich’s take is false.
“i’ve kept my mouth shut but now you’re lying about me,” wrote Grande in a Tweet. “i can pull together a performance over night and you know that, Ken. it was when my creativity & self expression was stifled by you, that i decided not to attend. i hope the show is exactly what you want it to be and more.
“i offered 3 different songs. it’s about collaboration. it’s about feeling supported. it’s about art and honesty. not politics. not doing favors or playing games. it’s just a game y’all.. and i’m sorry but that’s not what music is to me.
“hope that helps everyone understand my decision. i am still grateful for the acknowledgement this year.”
Grande’s “sweetener” album is up for Best Pop Vocal album; her “God is a woman” also yielded a pop solo performance nod.