My interest in Ariana Grande went from writing serial killer fan fiction to actually, sort of enjoying her over the weekend after watching her accurately over-the-top impression of Celine Dion. If you haven’t seen The Tonight Show clip, do so now. It’s not EW, which ironically, is ew.
Even if she didn’t realize it, Grande furthered the proud tradition of singers impersonating other famous singers. These aren’t strict covers, like Jimi Hendrix’s powerful retooling of “All Along the Watchtower.” These are direct imitations, where the vocalist tries to sound like the other performer they’re honoring/mocking. I left out Fallon’s “Wheel of Musical Impressions” and comedians, like Adam Sandler’s Axl Rose because, otherwise, this post would be nothing but Jay Pharoah’s every rapper ever.
Here are some of the best examples:
Eddie Vedder’s Bruce Springsteen
Johnny Cash’s Elvis Presley
James Taylor’s Bob Dylan
Sammy Davis, Jr.’s Nat King Cole
Dave Grohl’s Creed
Metallica’s Skid Row (among others)
The Beatles’ Barry McGuire (NOT Bob Dylan)