Ariana Grande left her fans a present under the tree this Christmas when her special “Excuse Me, I Love You” was released on Netflix. The two-hour-long documentary follows Grande’s Sweetener World Tour, focusing on the London show in 2019. Grande gave an upbeat, casual performance that displayed her incredible talent and vocal range.
Interspersed between concert footage are videos that show rehearsals, wrap-up parties and tender moments with Grande and her team. These moments provide insight into Grande’s personality and the things that are important to her.
The Concert Artfully Blends the “Sweetener” and “Thank U, Next” Albums
The Sweetener World Tour was Grande’s biggest tour yet, yielding the highest number of shows, attendance and sales. Grande elegantly mixed the unique sounds of her two successful albums while throwing in a few fan-favorite throwbacks. With five acts and a “Thank U, Next” encore, Grande took listeners on a rollercoaster of emotion with upbeat rave songs and more slowed down emotional tracks, showcasing her star-quality performing and vocal talent.
Grande Displayed Excellent Chemistry and Connection with Her Dancers
Something unique about Grande’s concert is the prominent role of the backup dancers. Especially during the rendition of “Side to Side,” I felt my attention drawn to the dancers’ energy and talent. At the end of the song, Grande took a moment to introduce all the dancers on stage by name and gave them each time to shine individually.
In a backstage moment near the end of “Excuse Me, I Love You,” Grande and her dancers came together. “I know that it was a lot and I know it has been hard physically and mentally but like this show for sure saved my life this year,” Grande tearfully said to the dancers in a huddle before the last show of the tour. “I just wanted to say how grateful I am for you guys, for this experience and for your time and your energy. I have to say the professionalism and the kindness and the energy, it’s just unmatched.”
The close-knit nature of the team was evident on stage as well. The performances, although well-choreographed and rehearsed, looked more like a group of best friends having fun on stage than work. The dancers played out scenarios in Grande’s songs, sang along with her on the side and were given the freedom to completely be themselves on stage. There were even a few moments where Grande was caught up in the moment and called out the names of her dancers such as, “Let’s go Nekai!” and “Get outta here Joesar!” These playful moments further illustrated the good chemistry Grande has with her dancers.
Her Show Had a Casual, Personal Vibe
The personal feeling of Grande’s show was not restricted to her relationship with the dancers but also extended to both the in-person and at-home audience. Some celebrities must create an onstage personality to have the confidence to conduct a stage, such as Beyonce’s Sasha Fierce. Grande, however, seemed to just walk on to the stage and act as if she was performing in front of her family and friends rather than a stadium of over 20,000 fans. This aspect of her show created a very personal feeling between her and the audience.
During the song “Needy,” Grande sat on the edge of the stage on the same level as her fans as dancers stood still behind her in a ghostly fashion. As she sang the ballad, the crowd took to shouting back parts of the song: “You can go ahead and call me selfish (selfish)/ but after all this damage I can’t help it (help it).”
Grande laughed each time the crowd added in the parenthetical phrases, and then effortlessly continued belting the song. Her incredible singing talent and ability to transition between reacting to fans and singing made being on stage in front of thousands look somehow easy.
Before the last song of the show, Grande addressed the audience with genuine gratitude for their attendance and support. She finished off with “I love you, thank you so much,” before immediately diving into the vocals of “No Tears Left to Cry.”
Watching “Excuse Me, I Love You” Made Me Feel Warm and Hopeful Nostalgia
Grande finished her show by touting rainbow pride flags on stage. Fans even organized on Twitter to surprise Grande by bringing their own pride flags to hold up during the finale of the last night of her European tour. Before the show started these fans distributed flags to those who didn’t have any. The crowd proudly hoisted their flags with Grande and her fellow dancers in a moment of unity.
Seeing a crowd of thousands stand close together and dance to the beat of Grande’s songs filled me with a warm hopeful feeling and aching nostalgia all at once. It is hard to imagine being in a stadium with sweaty people standing and dancing side by side anytime soon. Netflix’s “Excuse Me, I Love You” provided an excellent opportunity to safely escape into the feelings of being at a concert from home.