Excuse Me, Miss Americana

Photo from eonline.com

They wanted it, they got it. Now, any Netflix user has tickets to their own Ariana Grande concert when they watch “ariana grande: excuse me, i love you.”

Opening up with “God Is a Woman,” the film is a concert-centered documentary featuring Grande’s songs, dancers, stage visuals, singing fans and, in true Ariana fashion, slow-motion ponytail flips. 

Ari’s Life

The documentary sets out with Ariana’s crew preparing for the first show of the “Sweetener World Tour” in Albany, NY and shows full performances from Grande’s show in London. In between songs, the viewer gets an insight into Grande’s personal tour life. From telling stories about Piggy and Myron, dancing to “7 rings” at rehearsal and falling to the ground (with elegance) when she heard about President Trump’s impeachment trial. 

When Mariah Carey asks her to be included in a compilation of artists dancing to “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” Grande tells the story of her learning to sing as a young artist by listening to Beyoncé, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. Due to the film being largely performance-based, Grande demonstrates that the small clips she included are the most important pieces and moments from her life on tour. 

Ari’s Performances

Grande includes the well-loved throwbacks like “Break Free” and “Into You” and energetic new hit songs like “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored” and “7 rings” from “thank u, next,” which was her most recently-released album at the time of the tour. 

In “7 rings,” the dance crew’s pink matching jackets, spray-painted car and money guns serve what the song is about; Ari’s glamorous and budgetless lifestyle. Those who follow Grande’s personal journey, and those who do not, get to see a different side to her than just a glam popstar. Before “thank u, next” plays, Grande includes a montage of tweets from a dark time in her journey where she struggled with loss and criticism. 

“This show, for sure, for sure, for sure, saved my life this year,” Grande confesses to her dancers in a clip from before the last show of the tour.

A Diary to the Fans

While Grande’s documentary emphasizes her performance, Netflix also features celebrity documentaries like “Miss Americana,” which follows the story of Taylor Swift’s battle with misogyny and criticism as a woman in the music industry. 

“Miss Americana” opens with Swift playing a gentle piano melody in her home. Swift shows off her old diaries and “Miss Americana” itself seems like a diary entry from Swift to her fans. Swift shows that her need to please the media and her fans and to be loved for the sake of her own sanity consumed her mental health for a period of her life after her public drama with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian went viral. 

“My entire moral code, as a kid and now, is a need to be thought of as good,” Swift said.

Taylor’s Reputation

The viewer watches Swift change her perspective on how others view her while she writes her albums “Reputation” and “Lover.” Swift deals with pushback from her team to publicly endorse Phil Bredesen, the Democratic candidate in the 2018 Senate race. She recognizes that her huge fanbase gives her a platform to speak up about important issues in the election, but her team urges her to remain neutral in regards to politics. This is largely because of the public’s disapproval of the Chicks, formerly known as the Dixie Chicks, after they voiced a political opinion about President Bush on stage.

Swift even opens up to fans about her sexual assault trial and body image issues, bringing an emphasis to issues that women, celebrity or non-celebrity, face every day. She discusses the need female artists feel to “reinvent” themselves in order to remain relevant in the industry. The viewer watches Swift’s confidence change and grow as she matures and begins to advocate for the issues that hold importance to her. This demonstrates that she is entering a new era in her career where she doesn’t always have to be focused on being thought of as “good” by all people, but rather “good” for herself.

Take Your Pick

Swift’s documentary gives viewers a raw look into a personal journey that many people think they know about. After watching “Miss Americana,” fans gained an understanding of Swift’s feelings during her career hiatus between “1989” and “Reputation,” and they get to see Taylor Swift eating a burrito in the studio. Grande’s documentary gives viewers a little laugh and an epic dance party in front of their televisions in a time without live performances. Choose wisely when you pick up your remote, or just pick both!

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