Ariana Grande more than delivered during her elaborate “Thank U, Next” performance on Ellen Wednesday (Nov. 7). She didn’t pull the idea for her fancy white setup out of the sky, though; rather, the stage, choreography and theme were inspired by a scene from the 1996 cult comedy The First Wives Club.
Starring Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton, The First Wives Club followed three divorced women out to get revenge on their husbands for leaving them for younger women. Grande’s Ellen display was drawn from the scene in which the trio broke out into “You Don’t Own Me,” which was originally sung by Lesley Gore in 1963 (and more recently popularized by Grace and G-Eazy in 2015).
Midler, Hawn and Keaton’s characters did dramatic arm-swinging dance moves while dressed in all white at a wedding reception. Grande — a longtime fan of the movie — mirrored this scene, doing her own moves beside two ladies against a set complete with flowers and cake.
During the middle of the song, Hawn jumped onto a chair at the reception — and since she almost stumbled after getting down, Billboard‘s 2018 Woman of the Year did the same.
The women in both videos concluded their musical numbers by throwing on their jackets and making the same gliding strides as they walked away.
Being that Grande’s new single is all about her getting over her exes, making a reference to The First Wives Club was fitting.
View Grande’s tweet confirming the nod to the film, and watch the two videos below.
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) November 7, 2018