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Why Gracie Abrams Says Opening for Taylor Swift Was Like "College" in the Best Way

The "Risk" singer told Jimmy Fallon she basically "blacked out" while singing onstage with Swift. 

By Christopher Rudolph

On The Tortured Poet's Department, Taylor Swift says she's "So High School" — but Gracie Abrams says Swift took her to college.

How to Watch

Watch The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on NBC weeknights at 11:35/10:35c and next day on Peacock

The "Risk" singer — and 2024 Grammy nominee for Best New Artist — had the honor of being one of the opening acts for Swift on The Eras Tour. So when Abrams made her May 8 late-night interview debut on The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon had to ask her what it was like playing on the sold-out concert series.

"It's so beyond me. It was the craziest privilege and we all love her dearly," Abrams told Fallon. "It's a real masterclass to watch her do what she does."

Abrams added that she took the opportunity to become a student of Swift's skills. "I felt like I was at college for this job," Abrams continued. "I watched every one of her shows that I was lucky enough to open. I think we did 31 [performances], and I watched from every place possible in each stadium, just trying to pick up on how she's able to do what she does."

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"And she's such a one-of-a-kind person, friend, artist, all the things," she raved of Swift.

Gracie Abrams on the tonight show starring jimmy Fallon episode 1969

"But what she does so unbelievably well in these kinds of rooms is — sometimes you feel like you're on Mars, and then sometimes you feel like the only two people in the stadium are you and her because she's just so connected to her audience and the relationship that they have with each other," Abrams added. "It's really magical. To have been in their orbit for a summer was a crazy dream."

Taylor Swift and Gracie Abrams played a "dream" duet on The Eras Tour

Fallon showed a picture of Abrams and Swift playing onstage together in Cincinnati, asking how that happened. It turns out some unruly weather was the reason behind the dream duet.

"I remember it. It will be maybe my last memory. It's burned [in]," Abrams joked as she looked at the photo. "A weather situation came up because even Taylor can't control the sky, apparently. And so my set was canceled for safety reasons." 

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“And then Taylor texted me being like, ‘Hey come out with me and do 'I Miss You, I’m Sorry,'" she continued. "And so we ran it one time in her room, and then did it there. It was just in the middle of her set, and I blacked out the whole time.”

Later in the show, Abrams played her new single, "Risk." Judging from the emotional and perfect performance, it seems like her time at the Swift College of Performing Arts paid off.

Gracie Abrams: Risk