The talk-show host and her band Y’all transformed the trap-tinged R&B ballad into a soaring soul anthem, with Clarkson’s signature belting replacing Ari’s whistle tones on the outro when she repeatedly sings, “Can you imagine in?” with a stirring crescendo.
She maintained the inherent vulnerability of the song about an unattainable love, which Grande noted helped “balance the energy” of her hit fifth studio album Thank U, Next.
“I think it’ll balance the energy between thank u, next and seven rings nicely as those are super self assured / commanding and this one is more vulnerable / unsure. i wanted to mix up the energy a lil bit as both of those themes are equally prevalent on the album / in my life rn,” the pop superstar tweeted at the time of the song’s release in December 2018.
Grande released “Imagine” as one of the promotional singles for Thank U, Next, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in February 2019. The song reached No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Watch her Kellyoke cover of “Imagine” below.