Ariana Grande had to skip the iHeartRadio Music Awards on Thursday night (March 14) to continue prepping for her Sweetener Tour, but she did give fans the next best thing: a pre-recorded performance of the thank u, next standout “needy.”
Grande’s performance came after her Sweetener collaborator Pharrell introduced “needy” as being Ari’s “next big hit.” And judging by her intimate rendition of the echoing number, he may be right. Grande’s feathery vocals were boosted by a gorgeous (and all-female!) strings section, and, to absolutely no one’s surprise, she basically sounded exactly like the studio version of the song.
Pharrell was also on hand to introduce Grande as the recipient of the Artist of the Year award, commending her for persevering after so much personal turmoil and giving fans “the best work of her career.” He added of her 2018 accomplishments, “Who else could pull off a run like that?”
The singer, for her part, accepted the award in an abbreviated acceptance video, clutching the trophy and saying, “I am so honored. I will sleep with this tonight.”
Ultimately, Grande’s performance of “needy” gives fans a solid teaser of what’s ahead on her hotly anticipated Sweetener Tour, which kicks off on Monday. The wait is almost over!