Kanye West will perform on Saturday’s season premiere of Saturday Night Live, but it was Ariana Grande who was originally scheduled to be the musical guest.
SNL producer Lorne Michaels revealed the casting shuffle on the “Origins With James Andrew Miller” podcast in an episode about his show. “We had Ariana drop out for emotional reasons two days ago,” Michaels said in a prerecorded episode released Thursday.
The show began advertising West’s appearance on Sept. 17. On the same day, Grande and her fiancé, SNL cast member Pete Davidson, were noticeably absent from the Emmys, although a seating chart from the venue showed that the couple had been expected to attend.
The “No Tears Left to Cry” singer’s team explained at the time that Grande needed a break. Mac Miller, the rapper Grande dated from the fall of 2016 until this May, when they broke up, died of a suspected drug overdose on Sept. 7. Afterward, some people on social media cruelly blamed Grande for the 26-year-old’s death.
Grande is also still reeling from a May 2017 terrorist attack following one of her concerts in Manchester, England, in which 22 people were killed.
“Given the events of the past couple of years, Ariana is going to take some much needed time to heal and mend,” her rep said in a statement. “She will be staying close to home and using this period to spend time with her loved ones and work on new music without deadline. She thanks her fans for their understanding.”
Despite the trolls, Grande has continued to share her thoughts with fans on social media, albeit with Instagram comments turned off, during what’s been a difficult time for her. In the days immediately after Miller’s death, she first posted a simple snapshot of him, followed a few days later by a short video clip of him with a heartfelt message.
Her social media posts since then have sometimes hinted at her sadness.
can i pls have one okay day. just one. pls.
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) September 27, 2018
During an interview last month on Apple’s Beats 1 Radio, Grande explained the meaning of the song “Get Well Soon,” a track from her new album that’s about the Manchester tragedy.
“It’s just about being there for each other and helping each other through scary times and anxiety,” Grande said. “You know, there’s some dark s*** out there, man. And we just have to be there for each other as much as we can. Because you never f***ing know, you know. So I wanted to do something to make people feel good and less alone.”
Happily, the majority of Grande’s followers are giving her lots of love when she really needs it.
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