Z100 Jingle Ball: 13 Things Seen and Heard Backstage

Among the behind-the-scenes happenings at Madison Square Garden: Ariana Grande gets a platinum plaque, Pete Wentz praises Lorde, Kellan Lutz says no to resolutions and Austin Mahone mulls his 2014 prospects.
Getty Images for Clear Channel

Miley Cyrus twerked with Santa Claus and a Christmas tree, R. Kelly made a pre-Pitbull surprise appearance, Tegan and Sara joined Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert for "Same Love" and Paramore’s bass player, Jeremy Davis, performed the show in spirit as a cardboard cutout picture (his wife is about to give birth). Those were just a few of the memorable onstage moments the Z100 Jingle Ball 2013 offered at New York's Madison Square Garden on Dec. 13 night.

“This is the Super Bowl of holiday concerts,” Z100 Morning show host Elvis Duran told The Hollywood Reporter of Clear Channel’s Jingle Ball. “This is the first year we really blew it up and turned it into a ten city tour and put them all under the iHeartRadio umbrella."

The thinking behind taking Jingle Ball on the road: "We have the same artists in virtually every city so they are out on tour,” said Duran, adding that the idea was inspired by the early Motown Records model of touring its most popular acts.

“This is not a new idea," said Duran. "This happened back in the old days before you and me, back when Motown would take all of their artists from town to town. We went back and took a great old idea and made it happen again for the year 2013. It’s working out. We're selling out all over the country and are very happy with the results.”

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Also at the show: Katie Holmes, who introduced Selena Gomez, Pitch Perfect star, Anna Kendrick, The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus,  and Lindsay Lohan, who told the audience she and Cyrus both had a knack for "drawing attention" to themselves.

The mood backstage was equally jovial as a slew of stars walked the red carpet and posed with fans. Read on for 13 things seen and heard at Jingle Ball.

1. Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz is a big Miley Cyrus fan, telling reporters that several songs on her latest album blew his mind. “I feel like you put out an album called Bangerz and you have crazy behavior and stuff like that, then people will scrutinize you and it definitely holds up," he said. "'FU' -- that song is crazy good.” Cyrus' performance was introduced by Lindsay Lohan.

2. Speaking of rock music in 2013, the Fall Out Boy bassist added that the best lyrics he heard all year came courtesy of Lorde. Said Wentz: “It was interesting to see a 16-year-old from New Zealand saying the most rock and roll stuff. I think it shows that you needed an outsider’s perspective to kind of come in and shake it up a little bit. We are all for rock music making a comeback and being dangerous and interesting and outside of the box.”

3. Val Chmerkovskiy of Dancing With The Stars doesn’t believe in making New Years Resolutions. “I don’t need New Years to light a fire under my ass,” he said. Also not needed: gifts. “Ultimate gift for me is to give away something special to people who really need it. That would make me happy. I have enough things, he said. “However, he does have something on his DWTS wish list for a dance partner: Pretty Little Liars star Shay Mitchell. “I think she’s talented,” he said.

4. Fifth Harmony member Normani Kordei had enthusiastic praise for Beyonce's surprise album release, giving her props for reinventing herself. "Everybody’s talking about it,” she said. “She can do whatever she wants. Plus, I love the edginess and the direction that she has taken.”

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5. Austin Mahone’s one wish for 2014? To finally put out an album for his Mahomies. Sometime “around the Spring time,” he said. “I’m trying to get everything perfect because I have so many amazing songs. I want to choose wisely for my first album.”

6. Dr. Oz dispensed some medical advice backstage, telling any and all who would listen to get plenty of vitamin D during the holidays. “It enhances your immunity spots,” he said, adding that "sleep is the single most important thing that you can do for health in general." Oz clearly knows what he is talking about, boasting, “I haven’t missed a show the entire time we have been taping. We taped our 800th show this week.”

7. For former Jersey Shore star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, there's no place like home for the holidays with her son, Lorenzo. “He doesn’t know who Santa is yet but he can move around and he kind of talks so he is going to unwrap gifts this year," she said. "Last year, he just laid there.” Her one holiday secret? She had all of her shopping done before Black Friday. “I get my shopping done before Thanksgiving.”

8. Twilight star Kellan Lutz is not about New Year's Resolutions. “I just live every day as a better day," said Lutz. "Will Smith said it best: instead of focusing on the wall lay a brick perfectly, by the end of the year you have a perfect wall. Every day I think about where I am in life and what that day is and where the best Kellan is.” His plans for 2014? Lighting up the big screen starring in The Legend of Hercules, out Jan. 10, and in the new Expendables movie. “It was a dream come true working with all of those legends and then the story -- there is actually a story; There is depth. We have Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas, Wesley Snipes, Jason Statham ...  I learned that they are all bad asses.  We all just hung out. You think there is ego with all of those A type personalities but everyone was so grateful to be there. We just had fun.”

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9. Ryan Seacrest playfully dodged questions about a new lady in his life, and said he was looking forward to celebrating the holiday -- and his 39th birthday. “I plan to get together with friends and family and spend my birthday, which is Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day with all of them and hope that they got me something I actually want -- not socks and not underwear again.”

10. For super cute couple Jason Derulo and Jordin Sparks, New Years Eve is all about work. “New Years is a big performance day,” he said. “It’s not like it used to be. So I’ll be doing New Years Rocking Eve and Jordin and I are hosting the  BET Video Countdown.” Christmas, however, will be a romantic affair. “He’s coming home with me,” said Sparks, giving her man a squeeze.

11. A big moment for Republic recording artist Ariana Grande took place backstage. After entertaining the Z100 audience with a cover of Wham’s Last Christmas, the Nickelodeon star was awarded a Billboard 200 plaque for her debut album, which charted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Republic Records executive vice president Charlie Walk delivered a speech honoring the singer for being the “first female in many years to debut at No. 1." An emotional Grande exclaimed, “I want to wear it like a necklace!” before graciously posing for pictures and sharing her moment with fans.

12. Miley Cyrus has a fan in Epic Records head and former X Factor judge L.A. Reid, who clearly enjoyed her set and sang along to every word of “Party in the U.S.A.” while watching from backstage.

13. R. Kelly always has time for pictures. On his way to the stage to introduce Pitbull, the R&B star stopped and smiled for the camera. Members of his crew obliged fans by snapping shots with their iPhones and asking if they wanted him with or without his shades.

Twitter: @MicheleAmabile