To The Swift Go Spoils At Second Annual iHeartRadio Music Awards
Justin Timberlake Wins Innovator Award
March 30, 2015 at 3:55 AM (PT)
Kudos to iHEARTRADIO's BOB PITTMAN, TOM POLEMAN and JOHN SYKES for once again showing that radio continues to have the power to bring out the stars and put on a great show.
The brightest glow of the evening, though, belonged to TAYLOR SWIFT, sitting front and center -- both actually and metaphorically -- at last night's second annual iHEARTRADIO MUSIC AWARDS, held at L.A.'s SHRINE AUDITORIUM and broadcast live on NBC.
Top winner SWIFT earned the evening's first award -- Best Lyrics -- for "Blank Space" -- and the last as Artist Of The Year, while picking up Song Of The Year for "Shake It Off" from MADONNA, whom she had earlier in the night accompanied on guitar for a performance of "Ghosttown," the new single from MADGE's current album, "Rebel Heart."
"Thank MADONNA for being MADONNA," said SWIFT upon receiving Song of the Year honors from the MATERIAL GIRL.
"For my favorite guitar player," answered MADONNA.
A packed hall frequently erupted in squeals of delight from the fan-packed balcony at the show, which started off with a performance by IGGY AZALEA and JENNIFER HUDSON of "Trouble," with a jailhouse set right out of "Orange Is The New Black," as JHUD frisked the AUSSIE superstar.
NICK JONAS followed with "Chains," while world-class DJ ALESSO kept things moving in between songs and award presentations. A series of interstitial anecdotes from artists about their experiences along the road to stardom included interviews with DAVE GROHL, KELLY CLARKSON, STEVE AOKI, IGGY AZALEA, COLE SWINDELL and IMAGINE DRAGONS, among others.
RIHANNA, resplendent in a lime-green fur outfit, emerged from an on-stage helicopter "Apocalypse Now"-style to belt out her new, rock-heavy song, "Bitch Better Have My Money," for the first time live, along with performances by FLORIDA-GEORGIA LINE ("Sun Daze"), MEGHAN TRAINOR with full brass band accompaniment and seafaring theme ("Dear Future Husband"), KELLY CLARKSON ("Heartbeat Song"), a flame-surrounded JASON ALDEAN ("Burnin' It Down") and, in a pre-taped performance, Best New Artist winner SAM SMITH ("Lay Me Down").
After being introduced by MIKE TYSON, who "sings" on her new album, MADONNA was accompanied by SWIFT (who towered over her) on acoustic guitar for a streamlined "Ghosttown" duet that electrified the crowd. The evening's other show-stopper proved to be JASON DERULO's fireworks-punctuated "Want To Want Me," in which he channeled the spirit -- and crotch-grabbing dance moves --- of MICHAEL JACKSON, while the night's most impressive rock turn featured moonlighting FUN. singer NATE RUESS' solo bow in white suit and tails on "Nothing Without Love."
Other awards were handed out during the three-hour show to JESSIE J, ARIANA GRANDE & NICKI MINAJ's "Bang Bang" (Collaboration), SAM SMITH (Best New Artist), JASON ALDEAN, "Burnin' It Down" (Country Song Of The Year), JEREMIH f/YG, "Don't Tell 'Em" (Hip-Hop R&B Song Of The Year), CALVIN HARRIS, "Summer" (Dance Song Of The Year), BRANTLEY GILBERT (Renegade), HOZIER, "Take Me To Church" (Alternative Rock Song Of The Year), SSOSFAM, 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER (Best Fan Army).
The evening's non-musical highlight was the presentation of the Innovator Award to JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE by fashion designer TOM FORD. TIMBERLAKE, resplendent in an electric blue suit, was charmingly self-effacing in his acceptance speech. "I used to be the young guy in the room," he reminisced. "Now, I'm the old guy, right SNOOP?" He also thanked RCA RECORDS, with a shout-out to JOE RICCITELLI, for promoting his records to radio, then quoted both STEVE JOBS ("Stay hungry, stay foolish") and THEODORE ROOSEVELT ('It's not the critic who counts... but the triumph of high achievement"), including encouragement to all those considered "weird" and concluding with a nod to "my favorite collaborator," wife JESSICA BIEL. "I'm now going home to change a poopie diaper," he quipped.
Host JAMIE FOXX proved an amiable, if edgy presence, with controversial jokes about both SUGE KNIGHT ("He will not be here tonight") and BRUCE JENNER's sex change ("He's doing a his and her duet all by himself ... I'm just busting your balls while I still can") before taking the stage with CHRIS BROWN for one of the night's final performances, "You Changed Me," followed by SNOOP DOG and soul veteran CHARLIE WILSON's closing "Peaches and Cream."