Christmas came early to New York!
Thursday night’s iHeartRadio Z100 Jingle Ball in the Big Apple was a roaring success. A bevy of stars took to stage to enthrall the sold-out Madison Square Garden crowd.
The show kicked off with one-man-wonder Ed-Sheeran, who did warm up the audience Thursday night as he promised to at the outset, and climaxed with Taylor Swift who simply blew the crowd away with her out of this world performance – not to mention twelve other star-performers in between who kept the crescendo rising.
And, to add to all the fun there was a stream of surprise guests. What a treat it was for New Yorkers!
Here’s how it went.
“My job is to warm you up for tonight,” Ed Sheeran assured the already cheering and screaming crowd before opening with a rendition of “Castle on the Hill” following it up with a string of hits, including “Shape of You,” ”Thinking Out Loud” and “Perfect.”
Along the way, he shared some exciting news as well.
“I released a new version of a song last week and it went No. 1 in my home country today and hopefully, fingers crossed, it’s going to hit No. 1 here over the weekend,” he said.
“Good evening Madison Square Garden,” is how Horan started. “That never gets old, being able to say that,” he added with a laugh.
The “Too Much To Ask” and “Slow Hands” performer took the opportunity to express his gratitude to the people of America for making “Slow Hands” number one on the Pop Songs chart in the country along with the album.
“Thank you so much for making Slow Hands a no. 1 song and the album No. 1 in the United States of America,” he said. “I really appreciate it.”
Michaels entertained with “Uh Huh” and her Clean Bandit collaboration “I Miss You,” before revealing that she was not just a singer but a talented songwriter as well.
“I’ve gotten to write a lot of songs for a lot of really beautiful people,” she said going on to say that she wrote Selena Gomez’s “Bad Liar” and “Good For You,” Hailee Steinfeld’s “Love Myself” and Justin Bieber’s “Sorry.”
WHY DON’T WE
With each member of the group silhouetted in front of light boxes, Why Don’t We made the crowds go haywire with “Nobody Gotta Know” and “These Girls,” backed by some cool dance moves.
Puth was in his elements with his current radio hits “Attention” and “How Long.”
“The first time I ever heard my song on the radio was on Z100,” he said admitting that “See You Again” was in collaboration with Wiz Khalifa, and with Khalifa not around, he did it solo with his piano, dedicating the song to the late Chris Cornell and his family.
Cabello belted out her hits “OMG,” “Havana,” and “DNA,” amid some super moves. She ended with “Never Be the Same,” but not before she put the crowd in splits by revealing that she had ripped her pants backstage.
The crowd went berserk with excitement as Smith took the stage and nailed it with “Pray” and “Too Good At Goodbyes,” but before that, he was all praise for Camilla. “I was just fangirling so hard watching Camila,” he said, “I love her so much.”
He also thanked the crowd for making his new album “The Thrill of It All” number one on the Billboard 200. “I poured my heart into every single word, so thank you so much from the bottom of my heart,” he said.
“I performed here when I was 17 or 18 with my band One Direction,” he said, making the crowd go even louder with their cheering and screaming. “It feels great to be here.”
He sang his Hot 100 top 10 hit “Strip That Down,” and sportingly got through a bit of a technical glitch with his mic during “Get Low.”
While the “Bad at Love” singer could have gone through her set on her own boundless energy, she was happy to get some assistance from her two special guests, Fifth Harmony’s Lauren Jauregui for their hopeless fountain kingdom collaboration “Strangers,” and her boyfriend G-Eazy for their recently released team-up “Him & I.”
The rapper announced that everyone was family for the night and proved it by stopping midway through a song to sing happy birthday to a front row girl.
The crowd lit up a sea of phone lights as he rendered his Grammy-nominated track “1-800-273-8255.”
Before he left the stage he started a chant of “I wanna be alive” followed by “I’m gonna be alive” closing out with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on the big screen.
FALL OUT BOY
The seniors of the night did well to get the young crowd going with their hits “Centuries” and “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)” incorporating some pyrotechnics effect.
They also impressed with their M A N I A track “Hold Me Tight or Don’t” and got the crowd dancing to “Uma Thurman.”
“We played Jingle Ball in ’05 or ’06, so it really means a lot to us that we get to play for all you guys,” bassist Pete Wentz said at the start.
Lovato was brilliant with her “Confident,” “Sorry Not Sorry” and “Tell Me You Love Me,” which got fans out of their seats to sing along with her.
She doubled the excitement level by bringing on Cheat Codes for their collaboration “No Promises.”
The Chainsmokers made the most of their limited 20 minutes on stage belting out their hits with streamers, fireworks and a couple of surprise guests.
Drew Taggart started with “Closer” and was soon joined by Halsey and together they lifted the performance to another level. The energy was maintained by the duo even after she left. Emily Warren came up for “Don’t Let Me Down” before they ended with “Something Just Like This.”
Without a doubt, this was the highlight of the night -the moment everyone was waiting for, and Swift was certainly up to it.
Katie Holmes and daughter Suri Cruise pleasantly surprised the audience as they appeared on stage to introduce Swift.
Dressed to kill in a sequined black shirt embellished with a Santa hat-wearing snake, Swift all but caused a stampede with “…Ready For It?” from her album Reputation. She followed it up with “Blank Space” and “Shake It Off” – jams from 1989.
A stripped-down rendition of Grammy-nominated “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” brought about a second wave of phone lights that night.
While Zayn was not around to help her, Ed Sheeran did return to the roar of an ecstatic crowd for his raps in “End Game.”