The pressure to be perfect is an expectation to which most Hollywood stars can relate. For any young twenty-something, navigating the brutal world of social media trends and demanding media outlets is taxing on the soul. Ariana Grande has been subject to many unfavorable opinions despite her career high within the past year. With constant attention comes predictable haters, patiently waiting for any cracks to slip through and infiltrate, trying to initiate failure. But it doesn’t seem to faze her.
With her show in Pittsburgh jam-packed with loyal fans — some even dressing up like her and in customized outfits — it was a night that demanded a certain kind of standard. Ariana is still at the top of her game after her past two albums landed at No. 1 — that’s a specific kind of success that brings great stress. But the pop star doesn’t disappoint. She has enthusiastic backup dancers, a sweet set design, and powerful vocals that make up for any kind of possible mishap.
Perhaps the 26-year-old’s appeal comes from her compassion. She connects with fans, waving and reaching for them while walking through the crowd. She dances and delivers smiles that transcend a level of joy that could only come from performing on stage. It’s like witnessing a party with Ariana and her closest friends who just so happen to be her dancers.
There were moments of sheer happiness but also vulnerability. Ariana wasn’t able to make it through her opening song ‘raindrops (an angel cried)’ without getting emotional. When it came time to close the show with her first No. 1 single ‘thank u, next,’ the singer became overwhelmed with tears again when mentioning her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller.
Mac’s hometown of Pittsburgh was sure to have trudged up old memories for Ariana that are still fresh. She paid homage to the rapper in her own way: Her pre-show playlist included many of his songs and she reserved an empty seat for him during the concert.
She's so f'ing grateful for her ex: Ariana Grande performed in Mac Miller's hometown and she honored him by playing his music before the show and reserving a seat for him…It wasn't easy for her, but she made it through the show despite breaking down several times. 💔 pic.twitter.com/db5lWAzeVR
— E! News (@enews) June 13, 2019
Despite all of that, Ariana maintains a level of humanity. She conveys her emotions with open honesty and the crowd understands. She sings her heart out and the fans sing along, and her voice wavers from tears but the fans have her back. The average concertgoer might believe Ariana’s emotions are getting the best of her, but to any loyal fan, the Sweetener World Tour is the pop star’s way of healing. She’s among people who love her — friends, family, fans — and want to watch her thrive. And sometimes, that’s all we need to keep us going.