On honeymoon with Ariana Grande

Text by COCO MACEREN / Photos by MIKE REBUYAS

Donning her signature body suit with matching kitten ears and knee-high sparkly black boots, and clutching an equally eye-catching bedazzled mic, Ariana Grande came out with a BANG (but come on, opening the show with Bang, Bang was kind of expected). Her face was in all three screens inside the arena, looking at the crowd, being her cutesy self, and just at the sight of that, Arianators went insane. She came out and everyone jumped off their seat, wore their own kitten ears for it was time to sing along to the pop diva’s tunes. This petite woman turned Manila to her own Honeymoon Avenue in just a matter of seconds.

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The Manila leg of Ariana Grande’s Honeymoon Tour started off with Ariana singing the crowd favorite Bang Bang followed by Hands On Me. Running from one end to another, cheekily dancing with her entourage, showing off her enviable body and whipping her long tresses, this Pop Princess proved herself to be a performer. She pranced around on stage making sure that every side of the arena saw her and that she saw them, too, even if they were mere shadows in the dark.

Her voice was distinctly hers. It was very high-pitched, and, quote a fan at the venue, “very biritera.” Ariana knew how to mix it up. After some pop and rap realness with Break Your Heart Right Back featuring a huge Childish Gambino on the screen rapping, she did a fun and hyped up mash-up of Whitney Houston’s Every Woman and Madonna’s Vogue — much to the entertainment of the parents at the concert.

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She took things slow with Tattooed Heart and Be My Baby, singing straight from her heart and into all the Arianators’ broken hearts inside the arena — no one broke a tear just yet, not until this: “Manila, I want to do something special for you… I’ve only performed this once in my Honeymoon Tour and, well, I hope you like it.” She put on her best Whitney Houston impression and started singing I Have Nothing. It was hard to deny her charm after hearing her belt out this classic. She was a small girl with a big voice and with much up her sleeve, always ready to break free from whatever stereotype you had of her — does “little diva” ring a bell?

To watch a full video of Ariana Grande’s cover, click here.

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It was obvious that she wasn’t tied down to anything that evening. She only had one thing in mind and that was to perform for the fans that love her. “You guys are so so cute and so so sweet,” she gushed as she looked into the crowd. “Thank you Manila, I love you guys so much,” she added, gesturing about 10 kisses to each corner of the arena. “You guys are always on Twitter and well I’m finally here! I love you,” she continued, acknowledging that she had felt the presence of the local Arianators sending her cyber-love, 24/7.

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All the crowd pleasers were played, from Love Me Harder to Honeymoon Avenue and Break Free, that you felt every peso you dropped to catch her live was well-spent. A few more hip sways, hair flips and a quick costume change after, she was down to her last song, Problem, and the only problem she left with the Arianators was how to not end the night just yet.

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The Ariana Grande: The Honeymoon Tour was brought by Live Nation and MMI Live. Follow MMILive on Twitter and Instagram andFacebook. This event was presented by SMART and Spinnr, with GUESS as major sponsor, and supported by FOX International Channels. Media partners included The Philippine Star, Business World, RX 93.1, Mellow 94.7, Easy Rock 96.3, Yes FM 101.1, Rappler.com, Philstar.com, Inquirer.net, Pep.ph, GIST.PH, Philippine Concerts, Manila Concert Scene, Odyssey.net, and Astroplus.