Ariana Grande’s scheduled appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon this past Thursday (August 16) changed gears after the passing of Aretha Franklin that same day. According to TMZ, Grande was reportedly scheduled to do a comedy skit, but The Roots’ Questlove chimed in and suggested that the 25-year-old singer perform one of Aretha Franklin’s classic hits. Initially, Ariana was skeptical because she was extremely emotional over the loss of the Queen of Soul, but the timing honestly couldn’t have been better.
Through the persuasion of Questlove, Grande opened Fallon’s show with a heartwarming cover of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” As this is one of the most popular songs in Franklin’s catalog, being covered by legends such as Mary J. Blige and Celine Dion, there was definitely pressure for the pint-size pop princess to pull through.
Fighting through a number of emotions, she left her heart on that stage. The audience applauded with a standing ovation, and you can check out the video below to see why:
Grande was gracious enough to have met the late soul Queen. She shares some of those memories with Fallon and the audience.
“We sang at the White House and she was so sweet and she was so cute,” said Grande. “It was an honor to have met her and we’re going to celebrate her.”
Aretha Franklin-inspired a number of artists that followed after her. From her captivating stage presence to naturally-gifted voice, her profound impact will be everlasting.
Ariana promoted the release for her 5th studio album, Sweetner, available now on all streaming platforms.