If there’s one thing Jimmy Fallon should know by now, it’s this: never challenge Ariana Grande to a game of musical impressions.
The pop star has proven her knack for mimicking her musical peers in the past. Who could forget her Aguilerian rendition of “Wheels on The Bus” or the time she sang “Mary Had A Little Lamb” as Britney Spears on The Tonight Show couch? She even made use of her ability to flawlessly parrot some of music’s biggest names when she hosted Saturday Night Live a couple of years ago. Fallon must know all of this already which means he’s either operating under the delusional fantasy that he can outperform the queen of musical impressions, or he just really enjoys losing in front of a live audience.
The two faced off in another round of his “Musical Genre Challenge” when Grande stopped by Fallon’s show last night to promote her newest single, “No Tears Left To Cry.” Dressed in a pink baby-doll number and some killer thigh-highs, Grande was tasked with covering Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” in the style of Goth-Rock. Look, Fallon may have proven he’s competent at this game by giving us a Ska interpretation of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” but there’s just no way he could compete with Grande going full Evanescence on a hardcore rap hit.
Fallon followed up that brilliant bit of musical genius with a worthy Country take on Lil Jon’s “Yeah,” giving us his best Johnny Cash while crooning about being in the club with his homies. For a minute, it looked like Grande might be dethroned, but then Drake’s “God’s Plan” popped up along with the musical style “90s diva” and all bets were off. There’s a reason Grande continues to be compared to the likes of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston — she practically specializes in 90s diva impersonations. Of course, she slayed the final challenge and officially walked off the winner of this latest round of musical parodies.
At this point, we’re starting to feel bad for Fallon.
Grande also used her time on the show to promote her upcoming album Sweetener and to show some love to her fans. The singer surprised some unsuspecting followers in a skit for the show, but the most moving moments happened behind the scenes. Tonight Show producer Mike DiCenzo shared on Twitter that Grande stayed late to meet every single fan and have a private conversation with each of them, even after the cameras stopped rolling.