The song, released last month, marked Ariana’s return to the music scene following the Manchester bombing at one of her concerts last year, and was perceived by many as a deliberately joyful antidote to the tragedy.
Having already sung the track at Coachella and on US talk shows, the Billboard Awards gave Ariana an opportunity to give ‘No Tears Left To Cry’ its most elaborate TV performance yet, complete with a team of dancers, umbrella-based choreo and disorientating projections in keeping with the song’s music video.
Her performance came in the lead-up to the one-year anniversary of the Manchester attack, which took place on 22 May 2017, and took the lives of 22 concert-goers.
Last week, Ariana gave her first full interview about the tragedy, after being named one of Time magazine’s Next Generation Leaders, in which she spoke emotionally about her reaction to the atrocity.
She tearfully explained: “It’s the absolute worst of humanity. That’s why I did my best to react the way I did.
“The last thing I would ever want is for my fans to see something like that happen and think it won.
“Music is supposed to be the safest thing in the world. I think that’s why it’s still so heavy on my heart every single day.”
Following Ariana’s performance at the Billboard Awards, the event’s host Kelly Clarkson gave a powerful speech about the recent Santa Fe High School shooting, claiming that while she’d been asked to instigate a “moment of silence”, she instead hoped to inspire a “moment of action”.
The big winners on the night were rapper Kendrick Lamar and singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran.