You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Backstage at Jingle Ball L.A. With Halsey, Fifth Harmony’s Lauren Jauregui, Bebe Rexha, More

Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Kesha, and more stars aligned Friday night at The Forum in Inglewood for 102.7 KIIS FM’s Jingle Ball 2017. The iHeartRadio event, whose lineup also included Niall Horan, The Chainsmokers, Halsey, Charlie Puth, Logic, Sam Smith, Liam Payne and Demi Lovato with special guest Cheat Codes, was the third stop along a national tour presented by Capital One and, being the Los Angeles date, drew a slew of celebrities and music executives.

The backstage scene was especially lively as it offered the rare opportunity for local notables to bring along their kids and celebrate the holidays early. Indeed, areas of the Forum were transformed into winter wonderlands where the only sparkles brighter than the glittered tops of Demi Lovato and Taylor Swift were the Christmas trees paving a path to the dressing rooms. Variety spent its Friday roaming the arena. Read on for highlights.

• Despite being surprisingly shut out of the recently announced Grammy nominations, Halsey delivered one of the fiercest performances of the evening. Lauren Jauregui of Fifth Harmony brightened the show when she joined Halsey onstage for “Stangers,” their collaboration off of “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom,” Halsey’s latest album. “I’m exhilarated right now. I love every time that I get to be on a stage with Halsey. She’s so incredible,” Jauregui told Variety after her performance. Halsey was later seen dancing to The Chainsmokers’ set backstage before joining the duo to perform “Closer.”

The Chainsmokers - Andrew Taggart and Alex PallKIIS FM's Jingle Ball, Backstage, Los Angeles, USA - 01 Dec 2017
CREDIT: Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

Jauregui noted that, while the Jingle Ball lineup is “pretty solid” this year, “It’s maybe missing some R&B artists like Khalid or SZA.” She went on to praise a couple of Grammy nominees whose success she sees as well deserved. “I’m so proud of my girl Kehlani, she said. “She and SZA are killing it.”

• Singer Bebe Rexha also gushed about SZA. “I’m really proud of her,” Rexha said, referring to SZA’s status as the most nominated female artist for the upcoming Grammy Awards, with five noms. “I love her album. I’m very happy about the Best New Artist nominations — SZA as well as my friend Khalid and Alessia Cara, who absolutely deserves that. I’m really excited.” Rexha went on to declare her love of Kesha, who was joined onstage by Macklemore during her performance for “Good Old Days.” “I just saw her and told her that she slayed her performance. I’m so proud of her,” she added.

Elvis Duran and Bebe RexhaKIIS FM's Jingle Ball, Backstage, Los Angeles, USA - 01 Dec 2017
CREDIT: Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

• “Kesha just walked by me and was like, ‘What’s up? We’ve got friends in common. I wanted to say hello.’ And I was like, ‘This is awesome. You’re Kesha,'” said Bella Thorne, who had introduced Charlie Puth’s performance earlier in the night. “Charlie’s performance was also amazing,” she continued. “Liam Payne is performing tonight. F— yeah! I saw him walking in and was like, ‘What’s up dawg?’ I can’t wait for Taylor Swift, too. I really like her new album.” Throughout the night, Thorne was spotted backstage cozying up to her “Midnight Sun” co-star Patrick Schwarzenegger.

• “This Is Us” star Chrissy Metz revealed her current favorite: “I am obsessed with Sam Smith,” she professed. “These people are incredible performers who give their heart and soul to their work. I’m enjoying everyone. I think they did a great job with the lineup.”

Sam SmithKIIS FM's Jingle Ball, Show, Los Angeles, USA - 01 Dec 2017
CREDIT: REX/Shutterstock

• Sarah Hyland wished that Dua Lipa was included on the lineup, but the “Modern Family” star was stoked for Demi Lovato and Taylor Swift. “I think Taylor Swift’s new album is great. ‘Delicate,’ ‘Dress,’ ‘Call It What You Want,’ ‘King of My Heart’ — those less popular songs that aren’t on the radio are my favorite songs,” she said. Hyland added that she thought Ed Sheeran got shafted by the Grammys. “I saw him on his tour. It was amazing. ‘Division’ was such a great album,” she said. Earlier in the day, Sheeran had appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and took the snub in stride. “I’d rather have a lifetime of people coming up to me and saying, ‘This song is my wedding song,’ or ‘this song was my first kiss,’” Sheeran told DeGeneres.

Ed SheeranKIIS FM's Jingle Ball, Show, Los Angeles, USA - 01 Dec 2017
CREDIT: REX/Shutterstock

• Another big fan of Ed Sheeran’s is Lance Bass, who told Variety, “I’m so excited. This is my first time seeing him live.” The “Perfect” singer opened the show, but later returned to join Taylor Swift for their collaboration “End Game” off of her new album “Reputation.” Sheeran’s surprise appearance was a major highlight of the night.

• Elsewhere at the Forum: Talk show host James Corden was seen checking his Twitter mention while riding in the elevator; Taylor Swift enthusiastically greeted her dressing room neighbors and snapped selfies with Republic Records’ Charlie Walk and Gary Spangler and Big Machine’s Scott Borchetta, who attended with wife Sandi; Niall Horan stopped to pose for a photo with Santa Claus; and Halsey marveled upon seeing Blue Ivy Carter’s contribution to a painted canvas, one of many signed by visiting artists that adorn the dressing room hallway (an initiative launched by Shelli Azoff).

James CordenKIIS FM's Jingle Ball, Backstage, Los Angeles, USA - 01 Dec 2017
CREDIT: Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

• Spotted backstage throughout the night were iHeartRadio syndicated personalities Ryan Seacrest and Elvis Duran, both working overtime interviewing artists for live segments. Among the execs to make the scene were Apple’s Eddy Cue, Forum owner Irving Azoff and general manager Shelli Azoff, Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich, Dick Clark Productions’ Mark Bracco and Mark Shimmel, CAA’s Ali McGregor, and Chainsmokers manager and Disruptor Records chief Adam Alpert.

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • Atmosphere71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, Show,

    Emmy Viewers Not 'Feelin' Good' About Bizarre Music Choices

    It was known ahead of time that the Emmy Awards planned to dispense with a traditional orchestra or pit band for the walk-up and bumper music. What wasn’t anticipated was that the music choices were being outsourced to a bar mitzvah DJ in Des Moines. Or, very possibly, it was a local who had found [...]

  • Born to Be Live: 'Easy Rider'

    Born to Be Live: 'Easy Rider' Gets a Concert/Screening Premiere at Radio City

    In a year full of major 50th anniversary commemorations — from Woodstock to the moon landing — why not one for “Easy Rider,” Dennis Hopper’s hippie-biker flick that was released on July 14, 1969? That was the idea when a rep for Peter Fonda, who starred in the film as the laid-back Captain America, reached out [...]

  • Rob Thomas Sammy Hagar

    Sammy Hagar Joins Rob Thomas for 'Smooth' Performance (Watch)

    Who do you call when your pal Carlos Santana has plans on a Friday night? If you’re Rob Thomas, you recruit another famous friend, rocker Sammy Hagar, who turned up to help the singer close out the latest show of his Chip Tooth Smile tour with a performance of “Smooth” at the Fox Performing Arts [...]

  • US record producer The-Dream arrives for

    Top Music Publishers Come Together for Songs of Hope Honors

    The 15th annual Songs of Hope honors united songwriters, music industry insiders and more than a few preeminent doctors at producer Alex Da Kid’s Sherman Oaks compound on Thursday night. Jimmy Jam returned to host the event, which served as a fundraiser for the ever-vital City of Hope medical treatment center as well as a [...]

  • Monkees/Badfinger/Nazz Supergroup Takes Beatles' 'White Album'

    Monkees/Badfinger/Nazz Supergroup Gets Back to '68 by Touring Beatles' 'White Album'

    The 50th anniversary re-release of 1969’s “Abbey Road” may be just days away, but that doesn’t mean Beatles fans have been there and done that when it comes to celebrating ’68. Todd Rundgren, the Monkees’ Mickey Dolenz, Badfinger’s Joey Molland and several other name musicians of a certain vintage are teaming up to go out [...]

  • Rob Cowan, Greg Silverman'The Conjuring 2'

    Greg Silverman’s Stampede, School of Rock Team for Unscripted Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Former president of Warner Bros. Pictures Greg Silverman is partnering with School of Rock through his content creation company Stampede. The collaboration with the music school will create exclusive content, starting with the development of an unscripted series.  School of Rock operates a network of performance-based education franchises that offer students of all ages guidance [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content