Pink, Harry Styles, The Weeknd Bring the Hits to iHeartRadio Music Festival’s Opening Night Other standout moments included a hot set by Halsey, who kicked off her performance with “Strangers,” her collaboration with Fifth Harmony’s Lauren Jaregui, and continued with her hit, “Now or Never” and her Chainsmokers’ collaboration, “Closer,” with “my part, because it’s better,” she cracked.
Halsey later promised the Vegas crowd that she’ll return for an all-ages New Year’s Eve show to make up for a recently cancelled date.
The excitement of the day crackled onstage and off.
The music continued into the night at the T-Mobile Arena with high wattage bows by Kesha, Miley Cyrus (in thigh-high “walking”-ready boots, Kings of Leon, Lorde, Big Sean (the MVP of the night, who flew in from the Global Citizen Festival in New York to keep the party going and “end my night right here in Vegas”), Thomas Rhett, Tomlinson and Horan, and DJ Khaled, who loaded his set with surprise appearances by Chance the Rapper; Travis Scott (recently announced pregnant girlfriend Kylie Jenner supported from backstage), for “Butterfly Effect” and “Goosebumps;” French Montana on “Unforgettable;” and Demi Lovato, who hopped onstage for “Sorry, Not Sorry.” Other surprise appearances included Macklemore, who joined Kesha onstage at the T-Mobile arena for their brand new collaboration “Good Old Days.” The singer then took an emotional turn with her hit, “Praying.” Fellow Nashville natives Kings of Leon, meanwhile, represented for the rock format, opening their set with “Use Somebody” and killer versions of “Sex on Fire” and “Waste a Moment.” Self-described “young goth” Lorde, introduced by actor Taylor Lautner, who promptly went straight out into the audience to groove to her set, lamented that she wasn’t old enough to gamble in Sin City, but delivered a grown up and explosive show that had two surprise performers: rising star Khalid on “Homemade Dynamite” and producer Jack Antonoff who sat at the piano to perform “Liability,” a song they wrote together.
Country star Thomas Rhett represented the genre beautifully with his ’50s-inspired “Crash and Burn,” the Maren Morris duet “Craving You,” and gorgeous “Die a Happy Man.” Rhett also gave props to Lorde, declaring that the 20-year old New Zealand star “blew my mind tonight.” If anything, Rhett represented all that the iHeart Festival is all about.