iHeartRadio Music Awards: On the Scene With Camila Cabello, DJ Khaled, Shaun White

The iHeartRadio Music Awards arrived in Los Angeles on Sunday night, and with them, a slew of stars descended on the Forum for the big show. And while much of the action was onstage, where Cardi B, Maroon 5, Eminem and Bon Jovi got the crowd on its feet, there was more to be seen and heard among the seated VIPs in the house and those roaming the red carpet and hallways backstage.

• Ed Sheeran’s performance was beamed in from the opposite end of the globe (Melbourne, Australia), but the connection to and admiration for the British hitmaker was felt throughout. “Every single song Ed Sheeran comes out with, I’m, like, ‘Ahh, why didn’t I think of that first?’,” said Ne-Yo on the red carpet when asked which hit from the last year he wishes he wrote. Added the R&B singer: “What’s the latest one? Is it called “Perfect?’ Ed, holla at your boy. We need to talk. We need to work.” Ne-Yo has a love song of his own on the way, called “Good Man.”

• Just as the red carpet got busy, Olympic gold medalist Shaun White arrived — looking dapper in Burberry — and was quickly rushed to hair and makeup for an on-air appearance — but not before anyone and everyone stopped to congratulate him. “Way to kick ass,” said one such admirer.

• Kehlani’s performance with Eminem was among the highlights of the night, but before taking the stage, the singer confessed: “I’m scared. And nervous. [Eminem is] such a legend. This is the first time I’ve ever done something like this. But I’m just honored to do it with someone who’s so political and stands up for what they believe in.” The two have that in common. Asked what she would say to Trump face-to-face, Kehlani replied: “Suck America’s dick.”

• Former “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson wasn’t watching the reboot of the show on ABC. Instead, he brought his kids to iHeart, introducing them to the likes of DJ Khaled, with whom Jackson goes way back.

Randy Jackson and DJ Khaled
CREDIT: Shirley Halperin

• Some stars like to make a quick exit, as Iggy Azalea did soon after the show started at 5 p.m. local time. Others stayed til the bitter end, like “This Is Us” actor Lonnie Chavis, who plays the younger version of Sterling K. Brown’s character, Randall. The 10-year-old had moves to rival those onstage, which he demonstrated to anyone in his immediate orbit, including an impressed DJ Khaled.

• Sadly for fans of One Direction and their respective members’ solo careers, the guys had plenty of nominations but weren’t in the room to accept Best Music Video (Harry Styles’ “Sign of the Times”); Best New Pop Artist and Best Lyrics (Niall Horan, “Slow Hands”); or Best Solo Breakout (Louis Tomlinson). Still, they should feel loved for having gotten the loudest cheers of the night, along with fellow Brit Sheeran.

• Comic relief didn’t really go over with the iHeart crowd, as actor Adam Devine experiences when his cracks fell a little flat. And in one of the night’s more awkward moments, Laverne Cox referenced Camila Cabello being “worth it” while introducing the singer. It was not lost on the room that the song was a hit for her former group, Fifth harmony.

• Not to be frazzled, Cabello delivered with a Madonna-inspired performance of “Havana,” after which she spoke to iHeartRadio host Elvis Duran about her conviction in knowing that the song was special. Soon to hit the road for her own headlining tour, Variety hears Cabello is hard at work on configuring a live production that will thrive in a theater setting.

• Rock and roll is alive and well proved Bon Jovi. The band’s performance of “It’s My Life” had everyone on their feet, including Paris Hilton and fiance Chris Zylka, whose table was among the more boisterous in the room. Ever the perfectionists, guitarist and songwriter John Shanks polled a friend who called his cell: “How’d it sound?”

• DJ Khaled’s night as iHeart host ended well after the last award was handed out, and with his son Assad ready to call it a night, the hitmaker expressed his love for all. “Pharrell, Chance the Rapper, Kehlan and Eminem… my queen and my son, I love you little boy,” he said, before signing off with his signature slogan: “Another one.”

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