Ariana Grande's 2019 Billboard Music Awards Performance Wasn’t Live, But Most Fans Didn’t Even Realize It

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Ariana Grande has had a busy few weeks. The pop star is fresh off a Coachella performance and a sold-out tour, but still found time to grace a nationally televised stage on Wednesday night. Well, kind of. Ariana Grande's 2019 Billboard Music Awards performance didn't actually happen at the Billboard Music Awards where the rest of the night's events took place. In fact, it wasn't even live. It appears that it was a pre-recorded at one of Grande's recent Sweetener World Tour stops.

In an Instagram post ahead of the show, Grande wished her fans a "Happy BBMAs Day," and said "so wish we were there with u in person tonight. thank you @billboard for all of your endless support, love and for having us perform for u remotely from the @sweetener world tour. we love you."

It was nonetheless a stellar performance. Grande sang her latest single, "7 Rings," and most fans were so into the song, they didn't even really notice that it wasn't happening live, or that it wasn't even in the same arena. Some did catch on, but mostly they were just confused. It doesn't appear that anyone explicitly said on-air that Grande's performance was pre-recorded.

Some people were so disappointed they didn't even tune into the show, but others pointed out that Grande is in the middle of a couple insanely busy years, and if a pre-recorded performance makes more sense for her, it's better than nothing.

Regardless of all that, Grande and her dancers looked like they were having a great time in front of a glowing pink and purple moon and a parked car that had "BBMAs" spray-painted on the side. The audience shown onscreen was singing her lyrics and dancing up a storm as confetti fell from the ceiling.

According to a press release, "7 Rings" is Grande's fourth No. 1 hit on Billboard's Pop Songs Airplay chart since July, which marks the fastest that any artist has accumulated that many top spots in the chart's history. And Wednesday night's show was a fitting way to celebrate her achievements. She received nine BBMA nominations this year, including for Top Artist, Top Female Artist, Top Billboard 200 artist, Top Hot 100 artist, Top Streaming Songs Artist, Top Song Sales Artist, Top Radio Songs Artist, Top Social Artist, and the Billboard Chart Achievement Award. Whew.

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This isn't the first time Grande has made a splash during a BBMAs broadcast. You might remember last year, when she opened the show in characteristically theatrical fashion, descending through the sky before belting out her 2018 hit "No Tears Left To Cry." It certainly set the bar high for this year's performance.

Plus, can you believe that last year's performance was just 12 short months ago, and that the song was from an entirely different album? Grande released her Grammy-winning fourth record, Sweetener, last August, then followed with the 12-track Thank U, Next in February — only six months later. The woman truly does not rest. Will she be at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards with an entirely new batch of songs and yet another show-stopping performance? At this rate, it wouldn't be a surprise.

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