Due to a disagreement with Grammy producers over which songs she would perform, Ariana Grande, who has been featured on billboards promoting the show all over Los Angeles, not only won’t be performing at the Feb. 10 show, she will not even be attending it, according to sources close to the situation.
An insider tells Variety that Grande felt “insulted” after producers initially refused to allow her to perform “7 Rings,” the latest single from her forthcoming album “Thank U, Next” (which arrives Friday, two days before the Grammys). A compromise was reached whereby “7 Rings” would be part of a medley, but Grande pulled out after producers insisted that the second song be of their choosing. The source added that such stipulations were not imposed on other performers at the show. Reps for the Grammys did not immediately respond to Variety‘s requests for comment. (The news of Grande’s dispute with the Grammys over song choice was first reported by Hits.)
The situation is more than a little similar to the impasse the Grammys reached with Lorde last year, whereby they declined to let her perform a song from her “Melodrama” album — one of the five Album of the Year nominees — and instead offered her a spot during the show’s Tom Petty tribute, which she declined.
Grande is nominated for Best Pop Vocal Performance (for “God Is a Woman”) and Best Pop Vocal Album (for 2018’s “Sweetener”).
With this development, the Grammys find themselves not only without a twice-nominated artist whom they have been using to promote the show, but also without one of the most vital artists of the moment. In the past two years Grande has experienced two major tragedies — the 2017 bombing outside her concert at the UK’s Manchester Arena in which 22 people died, and the drug-overdose death of her former boyfriend Mac Miller last September. But she has also played triumphant concerts, including the “One Love Manchester” benefit staged just two weeks after the tragedy, and released a triumphant No. 1 album and a string of recent blockbuster singles — with “Thank U, Next,” arriving Friday, just a few months after the release of “Sweetener.”
“Sweetener” and the songs “Thank U, Next” and “7 Rings” all smashed Spotify records, with “7 Rings” breaking the streaming service’s record for most plays within a 24-hour period with nearly 15 million.