Music

Cynthia Erivo Says People ‘Don’t Realize’ How ‘Brilliant’ Ariana Grande Is: ‘She’s Got the Chops’

Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande have been changed for good after starring opposite one another as Elphaba and Glinda, respectively, in the upcoming Wicked duology. And in a new cast interview with Vanity Fair published Thursday (March 21) — eight months ahead of the first of the two film’s Thanksgiving premiere — the stars had nothing but kind words to say about each other.

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According to the “Positions” singer, for instance, she’s been hoping to work with Erivo ever since the Harriet star sang “Stand Up” at the 2020 Academy Awards. “She’s my favorite female voice,” Grande said of her costar. “When I was watching you sing at the Oscars, I said, ‘I hope someday I get to sing with her.’”

“I just need to say that I don’t think people realize that she’s got the chops,” said Erivo said of the pop star while holding her hand, causing Grande’s eye’s to well up, according to the publication. “I don’t think people realize how brilliant this person’s brain and voice and talent is.”

Grande and Erivo spent most of 2023 shooting Wicked in the U.K., taking a temporary pause over the summer due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. During that time away, the “Yes, And?” musician recorded her new album Eternal Sunshine, which recently debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

Aside from a couple first look photos, sneak peeks at Wicked were minimal before filming wrapped earlier this year. The film’s first trailer aired during the 2024 Super Bowl broadcast, and Vanity Fair shared several new photos of the cast — which also includes Ethan Slater, Jonathan Bailey, Michelle Yeoh and Jeff Goldblum — in costume Thursday.

Grande and Erivo, as well as director Jon M. Chu, did divulge a few details in the new interview, though. Chu confirmed that, at the insistance of his leading ladies, all of their vocals were done live on set. “When we were shooting it, those girls were like, ‘F–k the pre-records. We’re going live,’” he told the publication, although he was skeptical at first.

“There’s going to be a lot of wind in your air pipes. Is that OK?’” he’d asked, to which they responded, “‘Yeah. That’s what we do.’”

That went for all of the stunts Grande and Erivo had to perform. The Victorious alum marveled at how her counterpart was able to belt out the musical’s famously difficult numbers even though she “had a harness pulling and pushing and yanking and tugging on every nook and cranny that there is.”

Erivo also gushed to Grande, “I’m literally never going to forget you jumping on a chandelier over my head whilst singing.”

See the new photos of the Wicked cast, which Grande shared on Instagram, below.

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