Here’s Why Ariana Grande Chose “Yes, And?” As Her Comeback Single After Her Divorce And All The Ethan Slater Controversy

After the song was released, the backlash saw Ari lose more than 350,000 followers.

We’re only a few weeks away from hearing Ariana Grande’s new album in its entirety, and she’s continuing to share more about how Eternal Sunshine came together behind the scenes.

Woman wearing a cap and a grey top at a sports event, holding a drink, with tattoos on her hands

Fans got their first taste of Ari’s new music era last month with the release of the lead single from the upcoming album — and her first solo single in three years — “yes, and?”

Making her comeback with a bang, “yes, and?” was a critical and commercial success for Ariana, reaching the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. However, that didn’t mean that the song's message was able to dodge criticism online.

In case you’ve not heard it, the central theme of “yes, and?” is about living your life without caring what others have to say about it.

Song lyrics express confidence in living an authentic life, undeterred by others' opinions

And while the empowering anthem would typically be well received, the central message was deemed in poor taste due to the apparent references to Ariana’s controversial love life.

Ariana Grande seated in a coach chair wearing a pink satin dress with a sleek hairstyle

As I’m sure you’ll know, Ari’s relationship with her Wicked costar Ethan Slater has been widely scrutinized amid speculation that the couple began an affair while they were both married to their respective partners last year.

Person posing at an event with a movie poster in the background, wearing a casual sweater

Reports that they were dating surfaced online on July 20, only three days after Ariana’s separation from Dalton Gomez was announced on July 17. And by July 26, TMZ reported that Ethan had filed to divorce his wife, Lilly Jay.

To make matters messier, Lilly publicly spoke out against Ariana, describing her as “not a girl’s girl.” She later told the Daily Mail that she’s “focused on rebuilding a life” for her and Ethan’s baby son, who was born in 2022.

Two people posing in front of a floral backdrop, one in a patterned dress and the other in a light-colored suit

It’s worth noting that sources close to Ariana and Ethan have consistently denied speculation that they ever had an affair, and have instead claimed that things only turned romantic once they both ended their marriages.

Man in navy sweater smiling at a 'Derren Brown: Secret' event

So, when “yes, and?” dropped and Ariana sang the line: “Your business is yours and mine is mine / Why do you care so much whose dick I ride?,” it’s fair to say fans were a little shocked, with people accusing her of glorifying being a “homewrecker.”

Song lyrics on the screen with censored profanity

In fact, the backlash online was so intense that she lost more than 350,000 followers on Instagram while the song was simultaneously flying up the charts.

Ari seems to be brushing off the backlash as she continues to promote the album’s release, and now she’s revealed why she chose the song to kick off her new music era despite the risk of backlash.

In a new behind-the-scenes video shared to Instagram on Tuesday, the popstar explained to a room full of record label executives, who had just heard the full album for the first time, why she thought “yes, and?” would be the perfect lead single for Eternal Sunshine.

Woman in a recording studio with a computer screen showing audio software in the background

“Maybe try listening pretending you haven't heard the rest,” she said as they settled in to hear “yes, and?” for a second time. “But the reason why I kinda liked [‘yes, and?’] ... it’s an all-encompassing, like, ‘What the fuck?’”

Ariana Grande sits in a The Voice coach's chair, wearing a sparkly black dress with a high collar

Quoting the lyrics, Ariana said she thought the empowering message would resonate with fans and set the tone for her no-fucks-given comeback.

“Like, why aren’t we all thinking with the cap of, ‘Everyone’s tired, everyone is healing from someone or something that you can’t see on the surface.’ Everyone is feeling that,” she said. “That’s why I kind of liked [‘yes, and?’] as a, ‘We’re coming back.’”

Ariana Grande at an event, wearing a strapless gown with ruffle details and matching gloves

Interestingly, Ari noted that it might not have been the “obvious” choice for a lead single. However, she suggested it felt like the perfect way to reintroduce herself to the masses after her messy divorce made headlines.

“Pretend it’s been three years since Positions. And pretend this is, you’ve been, like, seeing me in a fucking blonde wig on the Daily Mail for the past year,” she told the room, referencing the fact that she’s been largely focused on shooting the Wicked movies since she released her last studio album in 2021.

“I think I kind of like that being first because it's a surprise, but also because it gives us a lot of a place to go,” she said, hinting at what’s still to come for fans. “It's kind of like the ‘Thank U, Next’ formula, if you will, ‘cause it's like, ‘Thank U, Next’ came first because it had to.”

Ariana Grande seated on a talk show set, wearing a sleeveless dress, with a ponytail

While we haven’t heard any other singles from Eternal Sunshine, Ariana has been dropping hints about what fans can expect from the album when it comes out next month.

Woman in a turtleneck sweater smiling with hands up, caption reads "i'm nervous."

In a video shared to her Instagram account on Feb. 1, Ari described the record as “a concept album” made up of “heightened pieces of the same story, of the same experience.”

She said that some of the songs “are really vulnerable,” while other tracks see her “playing the part that people kind of expect me to be sometimes, and having fun with that.”

Smiling woman in a turtleneck sweater at a mixing console in a studio

You can watch the full Instagram videos here. Eternal Sunshine drops on March 8.

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