Video Review: Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj “Side To Side”

In a locker room, Ariana Grande sits on a chair, next to a vanity with a fan and a bottle of Guess body spray.

Leading a spinning class, she tries to keep the energy up by bouncing on the stationery bike and putting her arm up. She and the class bend down and up. She claps her hands and has them lift their butts and roll them, moving from left to right. She fans herself.

At a boxing gym, she wears a nondescript boxing robe with boots. Further in the gym, people are seen lifting weights on benches.

Standing at the lockers, she holds a basketball and pulls her hair up.

After the class, the women have gathered into the locker room. They talk. One woman stretches her arms behind her back. She whips the towel over head and taps her dancer lightly on the knee with it.

In a blood red silhouette, Nicki Minaj is bent, with her butt sticking out. Some women continue other workouts, like jump rope.

At the sauna, Minaj sits in the center with men behind her and on the lower edges. Minaj sticks her butt again. She stands up, putting her hands on her hips while the men move their heads from left to right. Grande appears, singing along and bobbing her head. The men, however, sit with their arms and legs out. Grande crosses her legs with Minaj and then puts her finger on her chin, a coy expression on her face.

The showerheads turn on. The women stretch their arms out and roll their heads. Then, they turn around and do the splits.

Inside the locker room, Grande blows a piece of hair from her forehead.

Grande and Minaj dance and goof off in the sauna. Grande whispers in Minaj’s ear and Minaj bursts out laughing.

In the showers, the women whip their long, wet hair around. They wring their hair and arch their bodies against the wall.

Minaj winks and Grande sits, her head facing the ceiling. She touches the face of one the men, who remains still. She isn’t sure what to make of it.


Rating: 2.5/5

It’s a bit early for the Icon visor. She has finally improved her presence in front of the camera to the point that it feels natural. It took three albums and nearly 12 videos to achieve it.

The exercising, though, doesn’t come across as seductive, more like a productivity goal that has to be met in order to get through the day. Grande, though, as an instructor for a spinning class, is fitting since it seems like it would be something she would do outside of work.

She and Minaj have a friendly chemistry, chatting and gossiping. Grande seems to look up to Minaj, as she follows Minaj’s lead in certain parts.

The boxing gym section goes nowhere. She walks around in the robe while other people do the heavy lifting. Boxing, however, is an aggressive choice to be included next to the dainty stationery bikes and the dancing in the locker room.

The shower scene has some of Broadway in it, as the women do a coordinated slow motion dance. The narrow, limited space elongates their moves, making their limbs seem longer. It’s an unexpected highlight that is initially aiming for titillation but is striving to bring substance to it.

Director: Hannah Lux Davis  Year: 2016


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Pam Avoledo Administrator
Pam Avoledo spends her time binge-watching classic teen dramas and stands firm in her pro-Leyton stance. She also received her journalism degree in 2006 from Oakland University. Her work has been published in the White Wall Review, Sledgehammer Lit , Greatest City Collective & 45 Magazine and forthcoming in Daily Drunk Mag\'s Kristofia anthology.

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