Ariana Grande Breaks Down In Tears After Performing Tribute To Aretha Franklin

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Ariana Grande Breaks Down in Tears After Performing Tribute to Aretha Franklin ariana grande aretha franklin tribute png

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Ariana Grande paid tribute to Aretha Franklin by quite literally bringing down the house during her appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The singer – whose new album Sweetener dropped today – was originally scheduled to take part in a comedy skit with host Jimmy Fallon at the beginning of the show, but following the news that the Queen of Soul had died, she took to the stage for a rendition of “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman” instead.

According to TMZ, Ariana was asked to perform a tribute to the late star just moments before the show, but she told them she was “too emotional” to do it in the wake of her death, as Aretha was one of her heroes. However, Questlove apparently approached Ariana and convinced her it would be incredible for her to perform an Aretha song alongside him and The Roots.

Thank goodness for Questlove because Ariana agreed and later took the stage to sing the classic soul song. After receiving a standing ovation, she left the stage in tears.

Watch Ariana’s emotional tribute below:

During her interview, Ariana told Jimmy that she once received a phone call from the legendary singer. She explained that when she answered the phone, all she heard was, “This is Aretha.” Ariana responded, “Franklin?” And Aretha replied, “There’s only one Aretha.”

She went on to say that she had called to ask if Ariana could take a listen to some music recorded by either her nephew or her grandson. “I don’t remember because it was Aretha Franklin on the phone and I didn’t know what was happening,” Ariana continued. “I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’d be honored to listen. Thank you for thinking of me. Just text me the MP3 or something.’ And she was like, ‘Well, I don’t know how to do that so I’m just gonna send it to you.’ And then, like, four months later I got a package with a CD. But it was nice. It was great.”

“I met her a few times. We sang at the White House and she was so sweet and she was so cute, and I was like, ‘How are you a real person?’” Ariana added. “It’s an honor to have met her.”

Aretha died at the age of 76 from advanced pancreatic cancer on Thursday, August 16. She passed away at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit, surrounded by family and friends, according to a statement from her family and longtime publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn.

Following the tragic news of her death, Ariana took to Instagram to post a black-and-white photo of her and Aretha, which she captioned with many hearts.

Rest in Peace Queen, you will be greatly missed <3