I said: Brrr, it's cold in here. There must be some Sweetener in the atmosphere. Ariana Grande's epic music video for "thank u, next" is everything we've ever wanted. The Sweetener songstress recreated the best female-empowerment movies of all time (Bring It On, 13 Going On 30, Legally Blonde, and Mean Girls, obviously) in honor of her surprise not-a-diss track, which broke streaming records and is nearing a month on top of the Billboard Hot 100. A true icon, Ariana decided to recreate all of our teenage dreams and live in the rom-coms that shaped every woman between the ages of fourteen and thirty into the strong, well-dressed icons we are. After weeks of Instagram teasers, Ariana finally released the music video and it lived up to the hype.
The music video is clearly filled with references, from her co-writers and backup dancers appearing as the East Compton Clovers to Jonathan Bennett (the O.G. Aaron Samuels) re-living his Mean Girls glory days, but did you know her first performance of the song on The Ellen Degeneres Show was also a movie homage, this time to Ariana's favorite movie, The First Wives Club? Or that there are pictures of Ariana behind the beauty salon chairs? Are you now wondering what other "thank u, next" music video easter eggs you missed, but don't have time to obsessively watch it nineteen times like we did? Don't worry, after painstaking research, we've compiled this list of every hidden reference in the video you might've missed, so you can watch it again and know exactly what's up. H2GKMO.
Ariana has already lowkey let us know some of the upcoming singles on AG5. One song, "Needy," was hinted at in the music video for "breathin'" and was teased in a long snippet released to her social media accounts on October 4. In the Mean Girls homage, Ari changes the words on her Regina George tee from "A Little Bit Dramatic" to "A Little Bit Needy," in reference to the Thank U, Next song. It makes sense that she would hint at the new songs on AG5 in what is essentially the first music video from the album, but we're still shook.
Thanks to the detectives over at PopBuzz for this super hidden reference during the Bring It On section. Another song title teased during the video for "breathin'" was also hidden in "thank u, next" on a building in the background of the football game where the TUN cheerleaders were performing. We have no idea which song will be released first, but thank's to Ari's tweets, we know that the songs are done and can hopefully expect one in December.
Our woke queen Ariana Grande has publicly supported trans rights, the LGBTQ community, women's rights, and gun control in the past, and she's at it again in the "thank u, next" music video. While hanging out on the quad during the Legally Blonde homage, Ari can be seen reading an "Immigration And Refugee Law And Policy" textbook, clearly in support of those who are suffering from the current border crisis. Ari participated in both the Women's March and March for Our Lives, so it's no surprise that she would bring politics into her art.
"I’m also going to be a human being who cares about other human beings; to be an ally and use my privilege to help educate people," she told Elle in August.
Losing a loved one is impossibly hard, and Ari has been candid about how hard her ex-boyfriend (and prolific rapper) Mac Miller's death has been for her. While Ariana included her most public past relationships with Big Sean, backup dancer Ricky Alvarez, and Pete Davidson in her "thank u, next" anti-Burn Book, she didn't include Mac. On November 23, she confirmed on Twitter that Mac wouldn't be included, stating that he's next to her bed. While his easter egg hasn't been found (yet), it's possible that she's referring to where she's looking in the distance when she sings about how Mac was "an angel."
In one of the most #relatable moments of the video, Ariana wrote that her ex, Big Sean, "could still get it" in her Burn Book. Ariana and Big Sean dated all the way back in 2014, and their relationship ended after eight months. There's a hilarious entry in Naya Rivera's tell-all where she accuses Big Sean of being shady with "Smariana Schmande" during their engagement because all icons have haters. Sean is currently dating Jhene Aiko, but if the "cute" and "sweet" rapper's ever single again, he now knows he can hit up Ariana.
We all know what Ari was referring to during the nail salon scene when she said: "It was really big." They weren't talking about teeth. Ari told Twitter that Pete was packing ten inches in June back when the former couple was operating at peak cuteness. While Pete has denied this by saying that Ariana is just a tiny person in comparison to his average, um, package, that didn't stop her from writing that he's "HUUUUUGE" in her Mean Girls' burn book. TBH, Pete could still get it, too.
All of the leading ladies from Victorious reunited for the "thank u, next" video. Elizabeth Gilles was the perfect Cady Heron, Daniella Monet appeared as a TUN cheerleader... and none for Victoria Justice. There were rumors that the pair didn't get along, supported by the hilarious "I think we all sing!" debacle, so its no surprise that she wasn't included in the mini-Victorious reunion, which also included Ari's former on-screen love interest, Matt Bennett. It's wild that Ari was playing Cat Valentine until about four years ago, right at the start of her atmospheric rise to pop stardom.
Ariana and her brother, Frankie Grande, are really close. The pair got dinner earlier this week, according to Instagram, and the pair even used to live together. Frankie is a Broadway performer, television host, and YouTube personality, and has been seen in Rock of Ages and Mamma Mia! on Broadway and on Big Brother 16. Frankie can be seen skating in a poster on Ariana's wall in the video, and he appears again in miniature form in that same post in the teeny tiny 13 Going On 30 dollhouse recreation of her Bring It On bedroom.
The Kardashian-Jenner featured in "thank u, next" turned out to be the matriarch of the famous family, momager Kris Jenner. While Kris is the quintessential example of the "I'm not a regular mom, I'm a cool mom" mindset, word on the street (aka the internet) is that Kris was chosen for the role after Joan Grande, Ari's IRL mom, chose not to participate on-camera in the shoot as the mom to "Regina George." Kris actually does look a lot like Ariana's mom, although she looks nothing like the Amy Pohler character she portrayed in the video. BTW, did you spot Joan in the background of that scene?
When we saw the "7 Rings" license plate as Ariana/Elle Woods rolled up in her Porsche, we knew it had to mean something; we just had no idea what. Thankfully, Twitter came to our rescue, pointing out that "7 Rings" is rumored to be the name of the next song off of Ariana's upcoming fifth studio album. It could also be about the friendship rings that she got with her six best friends — hers can be seen briefly during the Burn Book opening. Hopefully "7 Rings" is going to be a bop about female friendship.
Of course, Jonathan Bennett reprised his one iconic role as Aaron Samuels for the music video. That dude's career has kind of stalled, evidenced by the fact that we can't name one other movie he's been in and the fact that he spends most of his time at openings for the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. He also released a Mean Girls parody cookbook on October 2 (missed "What day is it"? opportunity there, my dude), showing that you really can live in the past. He advertised for the cookbook on Instagram while sharing a pic from the "thank u, next" set, and he can be seen carrying it during the hallway scene in the video.
This can be seen way more clearly in the behind the scenes video that came out yesterday, but Ariana included pictures of her mother, Joan Grande, and her beloved grandmother on the table in the nail salon next to Jennifer Coolidge. Ariana's love for her Nonna knows no bounds. Nonna is the coolest 93-year-old there's ever been, and she appears regularly on Ariana's social media feeds. Honestly, we're just surprised that Nonna herself didn't make an appearance Bend And Snap-ing along with Ari's crew.
While we've already talked about Pete Davidson's BD, the true BDE icon here is clearly the UPS guy from Legally Blonde. Jennifer Coolidge's character in the movie, for those of you that grew up under a rock and haven't seen it a million times, is completely in love with the nail salon's UPS man, which is what inspires Ariana (I mean, Elle) to teach her the iconic dance move. His confidence and charm make him the O.G. King of BDE, but if we're entirely honest, it's Ari who has the most BDE of them all.
The word "Babygirl" appears both on a necklace worn by Ari's backup dancer aka the friend of the "army pants and flip flops girl" in the opening, and on Ariana Grande impersonator Gabi Demartino's shirt in the opening of the video. Once again, according to Twitter, this is another rumored single off of the hotly anticipated fifth Ariana Grande studio album. Nothing else on the internet connects Ariana and "babygirl," and nothing in "thank u, next" is a coincidence, so we're going with Twitter on this one.
Awesomely, Ariana included the bathtub and bed from her music video with Nicki Minaj for their summer single, "Bed," which was released all the way back in June, inside of her 13 Going On 30 dollhouse. Also hidden in the dollhouse is a selfie that Ari posted recently on social media of her breakup haircut, which looks a lot like Jennifer Garner's hair in the classic rom-com. Now if only there were also a selfie of Ari's BFF Nicki hidden in there as well.
What do Ariana, Paris Hilton, and Elle Woods all have in common? They know that Chihuahuas really are girl's best friend. Elle's iconic pup Bruiser Woods is played by Ariana's real-life dog, a Beagle-Chihuahua mix. Toulouse is getting quite the extensive resume — he also appeared in the music video for "No Tears Left To Cry" in April.
The adorable little dog is five years old and went on the road with Ari during her Honeymoon Tour during the My Everything era, along with one of her other pups, Sirius. Toulouse can be seen entering Harvard with Ari and chilling in her room during the Legally Blonde section of the video.