It’s the empowering breakup song heard ’round the world—Ariana Grande’s new hit, “thank u, next” is the life anthem we never knew we needed. Prompted by her recent split from fiancé and comedian Pete Davidson, the upbeat track calls on the relationship ghosts of Grande’s past. But, rather than putting her exes on full blast, the singer merely acknowledges their roles in her life with one can’t-get-out-of-your-head phrase: thank you, next (mic drop).
The song already taught us love, but fans’ patience were rewarded this morning as Grande debuted her first “Thank U, Next” performance on The Ellen Degeneres Show. Spoiler alert: It was wedding-themed. Oh, the irony. (Sorry, Pete.)
The pre-recorded act shows Grande and her two back-up performers, Tayla Parx and Victoria Monet, sporting all-white ensembles as they sing and dance on a stage designed to look like a reception—complete with white tables, flowers, and even a wedding cake. According to a teaser posted to Grande’s Instagram last night, the pop singer drew inspiration from the 1996 movie First Wives Club. The film stars Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, who play three friends determined to seek revenge against their ex-husbands. How fitting.
With the design and choreography intended to mirror the flick’s rendition of Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me,” Grande did have one slight slip-up during the “thank u, next” TV debut. Clad in tall, chunky white boots, the 25-year-old climbed onto a nearby chair, then stumbled a bit on the way down, exclaiming, “Oh my god.” However, her on-stage recovery proved just as graceful as her post-breakup comeback.
She also appeared to get emotional toward the end of the song during mention of her family. Seemingly choking up, Grande sang, “One day I’ll walk down the aisle / Holding hands with my mama / I’ll be thanking my dad / ‘Cause she grew from the drama.” Then, in reference to a future marriage, went on to croon, “Only wanna do it once, real bad / Gon’ make that sh*t last.”
Closing out the 21st century remake of First Wives Club, Grande and her crew tossed on white coats before strutting off the stage and out of the studio. Watch the full performance (multiple times) below.
Degeneres thanked Grande, and commended her after her “rough year.” “We all love you, we support you,” the talk show host added. Things seem to be looking up for the star, however; according to her Instagram, this hit landed her the accolade of biggest single day for a female artist in Spotify history.