When Justin Bieber joined Ariana Grande on stage at the Coachella Festival Sunday night to perform his hit “Sorry,” there was little doubt in anyone’s mind about whether it was completely live, especially after both made a point of mentioning that he’d showed up with no intention of performing and there’d been no rehearsal. Fans were forgiving, at the very least, to see Bieber on stage for the first time in two years, and non-fans… well, it’s safe to say he came up for some ridicule.
Now, both artists have taken to Twitter to speak out about the jokes, particularly in light of a segment on E! that poked fun at the apparent lip-sync.
Addressing the host of the E! show “Nightly Pop,” Morgan Stewart, Bieber wrote, “Imagine if you spent even half the time you spend laughing at other people’s expense actually building people up and encouraging people, how much positivity you could bring. What hurts about this is the fact that you have a platform to make a difference… And rather than being positive you belittle people. Think about how awesome it felt for me to be on that stage after being away for so long the excitement and joy it gave me doing the thing i love the most, i sang to to backtrack like most cameos do this is a normal thing.”
Grande responded to Bieber’s tweet: “We also decided to do this ten minutes before my set started. we had 0 soundcheck, 0 rehearsal. u were singing with the back tracking like most cameos do. people are bored. people don’t know how it feels to be under such scrutiny. the world was happy to have u on stage again. … your fans, friends & the world is thrilled to have you back. everyone was so happy to see u smile like that. no one will ever understand how it feels to be u, but it’s not their job to. take care. make music. u are loved. p.s. everyone in that video will b streaming,” she added, presumably referring to the “Nightly Pop” panelists.
The segment began showing a snippet from Coachella of the recorded “Sorry” vocal beginning with Bieber yet to hold the mic up to his face. “Whoa!” blurted Stewart. “Okay, I did not realize it was gonna be that bad.” Co-host Nina Parker offered a mild defense: “He did lip-sync, but Justin has been going through it so I’m going to give him a little bit of a pass,” she said, before offering appreciation that he’d gotten a haircut. Hunter March suggested that he couldn’t wait to hear Bieber “not sing” his forthcoming album.
Grande continued to share her desire for greater positivity after the initial exchange. “People are so lost,” she tweeted. “One day everybody that works at all them blogs will realize how unfulfilled they are and purposeless what they’re doing is and hopefully shift their focus elsewhere. that’s gonna be a beautiful ass day for them! i can’t wait for them to feel lit inside. … i don’t like when people try to ruin beautiful moments for my friends that’s all. have a good day.”
Bieber further addressed the E! team: “And rather than try and make people feel accepted and loved you find things to pick apart like the world isn’t full of that already… we can find something negative to say about anything or anyone… When are we gonna be the kind of people that find joy in adding value to one another and not tearing each other apart.”
Stewart has yet to take to social media to address the wrath of the Beliebers.
The previous weekend, Nicki Minaj’s guest rap during Grande’s set was marred by audio dropouts that many observers believed were related to matching live performance with pre-recorded elements.