Every year, people ask what it takes to headline Coachella. But there's extra focus this time due to Beyoncé's for-the-ages performances last year. In fact, when the three headliners for Coachella 2019 were announced, they seemed particularly underwhelming because of Beyoncé's incredible sets.
But that's not fair, and it's particularly cruel to Ariana Grande. Immediate comparisons between the pop star and Bey were made, but Grande is clearly her own artist treading her own path. Queen Bey is an absolutely impossible act to follow, so nobody should try. Of course, both Beyoncé and Grande have their own cultlike following — but Ariana did have a big moment recently with thank u, next, which held the No. 1 spot in global streams in countries all around the world.
Before we get to the pop star’s concluding set on Coachella Day 3, Childish Gambino gave his fans a truly unforgettable first evening on Weekend 1. Those who were upset that Kanye West wasn’t headlining were quickly comforted. Gambino’s efforts in both music and acting have catapulted him to one of the most respectable artists in the rap game, period.
It doesn’t matter what your favorite genre is, you knew his record “This Is America” and the impact it had on society to get its shit together. As the sun set on Friday evening, the Atlanta entertainer took the stage at 11:25 p.m. While many flocked to the stage, many left also. Some suggested that Donald Glover was trying too hard to create a vibe while playing a slew of songs that the crowd wasn't too familiar with.
The dancing and jazz influences saved the day, but his efforts trying to turn the crowd up to the max fell short. One audience member even stated she’s seen him live with amazing stage presence, but “this one didn’t feel like that to me.”
Day 2’s headliners included Kid Cudi at the Sahara Tent, closing out an incredible day of hip-hop from Murda Beatz, Sheck Wes, Juice WRLD and Wiz Khalifa. A little earlier, J Balvin brought reggaeton to the main stage of Coachella for the first time, before Weezer and Tame Impala put their stamp on Coachella 2019. Fun fact: The Vibras Latin superstar had the most streams this week of all Coachella performers.
Ariana Grande had the task of closing the whole thing (until next weekend), and she proved herself up to it. Yeah, there were sound issues while Nicki Minaj was up there with her (a welcome surprise). But Grande's a pro and she got through it. The appearance of *NSYNC (minus Timberlake) got some nostalgia hounds screaming, and the rendition of “Tearing Up My Heart” was cute fun. But the truth is, Grande didn't need tricks. Just bags of talent and a whole lot of costume changes.
Was it as historic as Beyoncé last year? Of course not. But Grande proved to be a worthy headliner and that's all we can ask for.