Ariana Grande was halfway through the UK leg of her Dangerous Woman tour when tragedy struck. Minutes after hundreds of pink balloons were released to the ground, signalling the end of the pop star’s show, a bomb was set off in the atrium of Manchester Arena. Panic and chaos rippled through the stadium, where some of the 21,000 attendees were still inside. Twenty-two people, including children and teenagers, were killed. Fifty-nine were injured, 20 of which remain in a critical condition.
As the country mourns the victims Monday’s events, we look at how the next few days, weeks and months could unfold for Grande.
Where is Ariana Grande now?
The 23-year-old star is back at her home in Florida. She was flown there in a private jet after the attacks on Monday night, and landed in the US on Tuesday afternoon, according to TMZ.
She is yet to make a formal statement on what happened on Monday, although shortly after the attack she tweeted: “broken. from the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don't have words.”
After the attack, a representative from Grande’s label told Variety that the star was “okay”.
What’s happening with the rest of her tour?
It has now been confirmed that Grande’s London concerts this week have been cancelled, along with the rest of her European tour.
According to some reports, Grande has been left “in hysterics” by Monday’s event and “is in no condition to perform”.
Does she have any new music coming out?
Grande released Dangerous Woman, the album that she was touring on the now-awkwardly named Dangerous Woman Tour, in 2016. It was her third record, after the chart-topping Grammy nominated My Everything, which came out in 2014.
Going on her album trajectory so far, Grande’s not due to release another record until at least next year. Even if she does continue with her tour, it’s unlikely that she’ll immediately enter the studio after its projected final date in September.
What will it mean for the next step of her career?
Whatever Grande decides to do next, the Manchester attack will have cast a shadow over it. When a terrorist attack interrupted an Eagles of Death Metal concert at The Bataclan in Paris in November 2015, it shaped the band’s meaning and fame forever. Grande will, unfortunately, always be associated with the tragedy of May 22, 2017.
It’s normal for pop stars to go through evolutions during their career, and Grande has already been part of a couple, transforming from the squeaky clean teen actress in Nickolodeon’s Sam & Cat to a provocative pop princess.
However, Grande may well feel an even greater need to re-invent herself after the horrific events of Monday night. It is difficult to imagine her singing hits such as Bang Bang or ending her show with the song Dangerous Woman after her associations with a terrorist attack. Bubblegum pop is Grande's stock in trade. She's never released a song with a political or controversial sentiment at heart, but this could change after the attack.
The extent to which Grande decides to speak about her experiences of the event or become a spokesperson for the issues it raised will also affect her career. She may decide to do something else entirely – such as a return to acting or charity work.