Ariana Grande's Coachella Set Made It Even Harder to Come for Her Crown

What is Coachella post-Beyoncé? For Ari, a stage where you can live out your fantasies. Photo: (C)Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for AG

An hour before Ariana Grande comes onstage to headline the third and final night of Coachella 2019’s first weekend, Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches asks in a tent on the opposite side of the field, “What does Coachella even mean post-Beyoncé?” It means everything is possible. International acts? Bring it. Sets that are equal parts choreography as they are tight musicianship? Yes please. Mainstream pop? In a field that is the internet transposed IRL, 100 percent. The lineup aligns with the collective mass’s Spotify algorithm. Popular is king.

Grande needn’t be framed as Bey’s successor. That’s impossible. Grande is a force in her own right; the biggest streaming female artist in the world, who has released her biggest two albums just within the past year. “Coachella I’ve been rehearsing my whole fucking life for this moment,” she says with her first address. “Make some noise for NSYNC!”

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