There are plenty of things to say about Ariana Grande that have nothing to do with her music. Her breakthrough rise in 2014. The jokes about her name sounding like a Starbucks drink. The Great Donut-licking Incident of 2015. A ponytail that won't shut up.
It's easy to pass her off, and maybe not entirely unwarranted. It hasn't been long enough to gauge her staying power. She has what many of her peers don't have: a sense of show business. A watchable quality that appears effortless, natural and poised for domination.
Grande might be the millennial Mariah Carey, as some critics have said, but she exudes a comfort with performing that Carey only slowly grew into. Grande doesn't have Carey's once-vocal prodigiousness, but she makes up for it in kindness and charm. Give her another couple albums and she'll be a powerhouse.
In her brief four-year career, Ariana Grande has released three albums, all of which have gone platinum. She shows no signs of slowing down, and that was certainly true on Thursday night (February 23) she brought her “Dangerous Woman Tour” to New York City for the first of two nights at Madison Square Garden.
At shortly after 9 pm, Grande appeared from under the stage along with her dancers, much to the delight of the thousands of screaming girls and scattered men at a sold out MSG.
Her act started on a white stage with mostly male backup dancers. For much of the night, the stage set was simple and elegant; sometimes purple, sometimes gray, sometimes Grande was shrouded in darkness.
There were arena moments, such as the smoke and fire for her “Dangerous Woman” encore, Grande riding a stationary bike for “Side to Side,” pink balloons dropping from the ceiling for “Sometimes,” and fake money appearing over the crowd for “Greedy.”
Ariana Grande is preforming in Cleveland on Sunday night as part of her Dangerous Woman Tour. Follow cleveland.com on social media for coverage, including lots of pictures and video.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at The Q. British girl group Little Mix and singer Victoria Monet will open for Grande.
Social media coordinator Maura Zurick will be on scene around 6:30 p.m. adding to our Snap story (username: clevelanddotcom), and providing pictures and videos from our Twitter account and Instagram account.
In five years, the 23-year-old singer has sold 4 million copies of her three albums, two of which have hit No. 1, and more than 25 million singles, 11 of which have now sold gold or platinum.
But it was clear from her crowd at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday that her audience still is heavily composed of teen-and-younger females who likely became fans when Grande was a Nickelodeon TV star.
That’s not a recipe for a long career – and with the talent that Grande displayed in the 21-song, 80-minute show, she clearly deserves a long career.
Her vocal abilities – she tossed off soaring, stratospheric notes with ease from the start of the show till the end and, perhaps more importantly, in most of her songs found the emotional element that makes that talent connect – are better than any of her contemporaries.
Those were just some of the words and phrases flashing across the screen when Ariana Grande brought the Dangerous Woman Tour to Nationwide Arena on Thursday, March 9 — the day after International Women's Day. She wanted to show that she could present multiple images, master multiple genres and execute multiple performance styles while putting on a solid show.
Since the beginning of her music career in 2013, Grande has taken cues from other kid-TV-stars-turned pop-divas and embodied a curious combination of innocence — with signature animal-ear headbands and ponytail — and sexuality. That duality was present at the concert, which drew everyone from bunny-eared 9-year-olds to gangs of 20-something women, but it wasn't uncomfortable (think Britney spears on the cover of Rolling Stone in her underwear holding a Teletubby).
Instead, Grande opened the show wearing a classic, Audrey Hepburn-inspired black dress and bejeweled collar. There wasn't a drastic transformation from there; while she did wear a mini skirt and bra top at one point, she spent much of the concert in baggy pants and a crop top, which reinforced the teenage-like side of her image.
The 23-year-old expressed maturity through her song selection, performing her most recent album, Dangerous Woman, in its entirety. It's the first of Grande's three projects to include a parental advisory warning. Explicit language is found on songs like "Bad Decisions," in which Grande poses the question, "Ain't you ever seen a princess be a bad bitch?" Grande is talking to a "bad boy" here ("I ain't fuckin' with them good boys," she sings elsewhere on the track), which demonstrates a trend common among women in pop music: their so-called rebellious period is often defined by their interactions with the opposite sex.