Ariana Grande threw everyone for a loop Saturday night when she surprise-dropped a new song called “Thank U, Next.” To be fair, fans did see new music coming, but they may’ve been surprised by how Grande name-checks her exes in the song. “Thought I’d end up with Sean/But he wasn’t a match/Wrote some songs about Ricky/Now I listen and laugh/Even almost got married/And for Pete, I’m so thankful/Wish I could say, ‘Thank you’ to Malcolm/’Cause he was an angel,” she sings at the top of the track.
“Pete” is obviously Pete Davidson, the Saturday Night Live comedian whom Grande was engaged to all summer. Their whirlwind romance abruptly ended in mid-October, and Davidson hasn’t exactly been silent about the split. He’s made jokes in standup routines about it and even fake-proposed to singer Maggie Rogers as part of an SNL promo gag. That last stunt irked Grande and was no-doubt a reason she released “Thank U, Next” so quickly.
And she isn’t done calling out Davidson in her music. The singer’s first performance of the song will air on Ellen Wednesday (November 7), and there’s a motif going on: weddings.
In a video host Ellen DeGeneres teased, we see Grande and her backup dancers dressed in all white with a wedding cake and reception tables in the background. Grande even quasi-confirmed this theme on her own Instagram, dubbing herself and the dancers the “First Wives Club 2018.”
Watch the full performance for yourself, below:
Davidson is the only person on “Thank U, Next” whom Grande says she almost married, so all this wedding imagery is most likely a reference to him. It’s not exactly subtle.
It’s also a bit perplexing, seeing as how Grande was seemingly so upset by Davidson speaking openly about their relationship. This performance, in many ways, is perhaps the most overt nod either of them has made to their engagement.
If Grande also does an interview with DeGeneres, it’ll be interesting to see what she says.