The Roots are one of the most versatile bands on the planet, and when Ariana Grande brought her new single “Imagine” to “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” Tuesday night, they brought out the song’s inherent soulfulness in inimitable fashion. Toward the end of the track, Grande shows off her range with some sky-scraping, Mariah-esque vocal vamps at the end.
Earlier in the show, she bopped along with Fallon, Horatio Sanz, Chris Kattan and Tracy Morgan for a cover of “I Wish It Was Christmas Today,” which Sanz and Fallon inexplicably sang (terribly) while Grande smiled silently.
Grande has described “Imagine” as a “a simple, beautiful love that is now (and forever) unattainable,” although fans were quick to point out references to her late boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller, in that he had a tattoo that said “Imagine” and there are allusions to some of his lyrics in the song. Grande wrote, “A lot of this album mourns failed yet important, beautiful relationships in my life (as well as celebrates growth/exploring new independence),. But for those of you asking about ‘Imagine’: I would say if ‘Thank U, Next’ = acceptance… ‘Imagine’ = denial. Hope that makes sense.”
“Kind of like… pretending it never ended. Denial,” she continued. “But I look forward to you hearing it and having your own experience with it. You may take away something totally different and specific to your life! Love u.”
Earlier this week the singer added multiple dates to her “Sweetener” tour, which launches March 18 Albany, NY and is scheduled to wrap in Toronto on June 26. Fifth Harmony’s Normani and Social House will also perform on each stop.