Ariana Grande is saying “no thanks” to this year’s Grammy Awards telecast.
The 25-year-old singer--whose hit singles “Thank U, Next” and “No Tears Left to Cry” have racked up hundreds of millions of streams on Spotify--won’t be attending this Sunday’s awards ceremony in Los Angeles, according to multiplereports.
Variety notes Grande felt “insulted” after learning the show’s producers didn’t want her to perform her latest single, “7 Rings,” which recently set a Spotify record for the most streams within a 24-hour period. Grande agreed to make “7 Rings” part of a medley, the Variety report claims. But she bailed from the show once she was told she wouldn’t be allowed to choose which song she could perform as a follow-up number.
It’s not the first time the show’s producers have clashed with a big-name performer. Last year, singer Lorde reportedly wasn’t offered a solo-performance slot on the show--a luxury granted to several male nominees.
Yet Grande’s decision represents an even bigger dilemma for the producers of the show, which has suffered declining viewership in recent years, and could no doubt use a performer as popular as Grande to lure audiences: Her 2018 album Sweetener debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart--giving Grande her third consecutive No. 1 album--and she has 144 million Instagram followers.
CBS, the network airing the show, has already made major advertising spends on billboards touting Grande’s on-stage appearance. Now, she reportedly won’t be in attendance at all--meaning the network won’t be able to televise any red-carpet appearances or audience-reaction shots of Grande, a reliable meme-starter on social media.
Instead, the singer will most likely spend the weekend focusing on her new album, Thank U, Next, which is to be released this Friday. On Wednesday, the singer tweeted a video teasing the new record, her second effort in less than twelve months:
Even without Grande, the Grammy Awards--which kicks off at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on Feb. 10--will feature several high-profile names, including Cardi B, Diana Ross, BTS, Lady Gaga, Post Malone, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And it will be hosted by Grammy winner Alicia Keys. Yet without Grande, it will be missing one of pop-culture’s few ratings sweeteners.