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Grammys Producer Ken Ehrlich Responds to Ariana Grande: “It Was a Surprise”

Earlier this week, Ariana Grande took to Twitter to publicly refute claims made by Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich about her pulling out of her performance at the ceremony. In an interview, Ehrlich claimed that the vocalist “felt it was too late for her to pull something together for sure.” In response, Grande said that the producer was “lying,” and that she can “pull together a performance over night.”

Now, Ehlrich has responded to the musician in a new interview with Rolling Stone. “I saw those tweets and what she said. I guess it was a surprise,” he said. “I will say this, and they don’t want me to say it but I’m going to say it: The thing that probably bothered me more than whatever else she said about me is when she said I’m not collaborative.”

He also said that he never spoke to Grande directly, and instead worked with her management team. “I don’t know if I’m good at anything else, but I understand artists and I can hear other artists in an artist,” he said. “I don’t say to people, ‘This is what you should do.’ I approach it casually and say, hey, this might be a good idea, let’s find something in the middle.”

Ehrlich also discussed other Grammy performances he’s put together with Christina Aguilera, Ricky Martin and Melissa Etheridge. He said:

The fact of the matter is — and I actually wrote a little thing in the middle of the night that I’m not going to do anything about, but, I mean. You can ask Christina Aguilera, who I asked to do “It’s a Man’s World” for James Brown. You can ask Melissa Etheridge, who finished her cancer treatment and I put her out on stage, bald, doing Janis Joplin. You can ask Ricky Martin who overnight became the creator of the Latin music revolution. Ask Mary J. Blige, who was scared shitless to go out there and do “No More Drama.” I basically worked with her to mold it. Ask H.E.R. who’s in this show.

The Recording Academy’s 61st Grammy Awards take place tonight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Earlier this week, the New York Times revealed that Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and Childish Gambino each declined to perform at this year’s ceremony. Dua Lipa, Cardi B, and Post Malone are among those performing. The Grammys air at 8PM EST on CBS.