All eyes were on Ariana Grande when the pop titan closed out weekend one of Coachella 2019 and she did so by filling in for Justin Timberlake during an *NSYNC reunion, paying homage to late rap figures with Diddy and Mase and welcoming Nicki Minaj for their big collaborations.
During the headlining number on Sunday night (April 14), the 25-year-old ran through a 21+ setlist, full of massive hits and album cuts, but the real highlights obviously fell on the showing of friendly faces. Let's start with *NSYNC. Just a few days back, TMZ spoiled all the fun and reported about the band's on-stage reunion, specifying that JT would not be involved. They were right. Towards the end of "break up with your girlfriend," Grande invited JC Chasez, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick to the stage for a bit of the hit, its sample (*NSYNC's 2000 album cut "It Makes Me Ill") and then a full-fledged team-up of 1997’s "Tearin' Up My Heart." Timberlake was obviously missed, but Grande hit all the marks while filling in for JT and she knows just why. "I've been rehearsing my whole. . . .life for this moment!" she yelled, before joining in on the signature choreography from the clip. "This has been a dream of ours. Thank you for sharing this with us," JC told the crowd at the end of the cameo.
Meanwhile, Minaj’s unfortunate trail of technical stage hiccups followed her to Indio as her mic had issues. It started with her guest verse from "Side To Side" and occurred all the way until the end of "Bang Bang." "We can’t hear anything!" Grande said during one of the rapper's verses, but the show must go on and they somehow finished it even with the technical flaws.
Grande's final guests made for what was probably the set's emotional peak. After venturing into a cover of Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out,” the tempo picked up and in came Diddy, Mase and The Notorious B.I.G.’s "Mo Money Mo Problems." It’s been an emotional time for the Bad Boy CEO, considering he recently lost ex-girlfriend, Kim Porter, so the sentiment behind this tribute to late hip-hop heads like Nipsey Hussle, Biggie, Tupac and, of course, Mac Miller felt fitting.
Scroll on below go see clips from Grande’s pop set!
Photo: Getty Images