No one knew exactly what to expect when it was announced that pop star Ariana Grande would join country quartet Little Big Town for a performance at the CMA Awards in Nashville. While the CMAs have had cross-genre performances in the past, this seemed especially weird.
First, members of Little Big Town (Kimberly Schlapman, Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet, Jimi Westbrook) got the stage to themselves with glow-in-the-dark band uniforms and a drumline as they performed their latest hit, the groovy “Day Drinking.” Not a Grande in sight.
Then, suddenly appearing at the back of the stage and looking wildly out of place, Grande emerged wearing her signature sky-high ponytail and a matching light-up outfit. She segued into “Bang Bang,” her collaboration with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj.
Grande strolled over and continued singing as the quartet joined her on the song. She stood in the middle of the group, somewhat awkwardly dancing between Schlapman and Fairchild, and they all stood in a row as they belted out the song together. It was impossible to stop thinking the obvious as you watched: “What is Ariana Grande doing at the CMAs?”
Vocally? It sounded impressive, as Grande has a great voice and LBT’s harmonies are heavenly. But as much as it got the audience members on their feet in the middle of the show, the performance felt especially random.
On the subject of bizarre duets, this is far from the strangest at an award show. Reminisce with some of the strangest:
Jonas Brothers and Stevie Wonder at the 2009 Grammy Awards
Kanye West and Daft Punk at the 2008 Grammy Awards
Madonna and Gorillaz at the 2006 Grammy Awards
Elton John and Eminem at the 2006 Grammy Awards
Blake Shelton and Kenny Loggins at the 2011 CMA Awards