iHeartRadio took over the Forum in Los Angeles on Friday night, bringing together a stellar lineup for its annual Jingle Ball that included Katy Perry, BTS, Billie Eilish, Sam Smith, Camila Cabello, Halsey, Lizzo, Louis Tomlinson and Normani.
It was a festive affair as concert-goers pulled up to the iconic venue to find it flooded in red and green lights. Inside the Forum, the holiday spirit was also in full effect as well as some pre-Grammy cheer. Variety caught up with Lizzo backstage and asked about being the most nominated artist of the 2020 show — with nods including “Truth Hurts” for song of the year.
“Oh my god, it feels great,” she said. “I’m just so happy to be part of this year, it’s been a great year for music so I’m just honored to be a part of the conversation. We’re going to have so much fun at the ceremony because I always wanted to go.”
When asked how much streaming has helped her career grow, she cracked, “Yeah, can you tell the people that? Because people be trying to hate on me. Like ‘it was the streaming! It was the people, not me!’”
KIIS-FM’s own Ryan Seacrest hosted the star-studded show and introduced BTS to deafening screams. They kicked off their short but impactful set with “MIC Drop” followed by “Make It Right.” The guys then brought out fellow Jingle Ball artist Halsey for their single “Boy With Luv”and proceeded to bring down the house.
Variety cover star Billie Eilish kicked off her performance with “Bad Guy” commanding the arena’s attention in an instant. Said Eilish from the stage: “We’re alive right now … And Christmas is coming! Let’s just breathe and be happy we’re here.” Rocking her signature bright green and black hair and a Britney Spears T-shirt, she raged to “All Girls Go To Hell” before taking a seat for “When The Party’s Over.”
Katy Perry took the stage in a bright pink dress adorned by a snowflake pattern. With back-up dancers dressed as giant presents, she turned the holiday spirit up to 11 as now classics “Teenage Dream” and “Never Really Over” had fans singing along enthusiastically.
Halsey sported a white corset and multi-colored bandana-themed baggy pants for “Eastside” by Benny Blanco as well as radio staples “Bad at Love” and “Without Me” and her latest, “Graveyard.”
Normani wore a sleek all-white jumpsuit encrusted with diamonds, performing with a full band and backup dancers. No surprise, ”Motivation” was a crowd favorite.
The same night her new album “Romance” was released, Cabello had the crowd in a frenzy. The former Fifth Harmony singer kicked off her set with “Never Be The Same” in an elegant red ensemble with thigh high boots. Keeping in the high register, she performed “Living Proof,” introducing her latest single by remarking: “I hope it makes you feel something.” Her set wrapped with “Havana” and lots of confetti.
Lizzo fully embraced the Christmas theme rocking a Mrs. Santa Claus cape. Beyond her hit records, Lizzo’s wit also shined. At one point, she asked fans to pretend she was Jimin from BTS, which was met with the same thunderous response the group received earlier in the night.
Sam Smith was the grand finale, performing “Dancing With A Stranger” with Normani who returned to the stage in a form-fitting pink dress. In between delivering his classics, the Disclosure-produced “Latch,” “How Do You Sleep,” “Promises” and “Stay With Me,” he joked about “wanting to turn this arena into the biggest gay bar in the world.”