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Part two of the iHeartRadio festival kicked off with a giant of the music world — Paul McCartney, whose nine-song set included such classics as “Magical Mystery Tour,” “Live and Let Die” and “Lady Madonna” — then bounced around the genres for the rest of the concert, which lasted well past 1 a.m. when Justin Timberlake took his final bow.
Indeed, there was plenty of action onstage, as the likes of Miley Cyrus and Ke$ha shocked with barely there outfits (in the former’s case, not much more than a pair of oversized pasties), while Drake, Bruno Mars, and Phoenix wowed with tight but momentous 30-minute sets.
The scene backstage also offered several gawk-worthy moments, as scores of industry insiders packed the underbelly of Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Arena. The Hollywood Reporter gathered 10 such highlights for a second installment of seen and heard at iHeartRadio…
1. In case you were wondering whether exes Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears had any chance of running into each other, let us answer that with an emphatic no. After Spears introduced Miley Cyrus around 9:20 p.m., she promptly exited the venue. Timberlake, meanwhile, was due to arrive no earlier than 10 p.m. for a 12:20 a.m headlining slot. According to several sources, production was duly aware to avoid any potential photo opp.
2. When Paul McCartney played Bonnaroo earlier this year, the elaborate backstage of the Manchester, Tenn., festival practically had to go on lock down upon the Beatle’s arrival. That was not the case at iHeartRadio, where McCartney was spotted mingling post-soundcheck, and sticking around long after his set. In a back trailer behind the venue, he held court with music biz bigwigs. Among those who came by to kiss the ring, as it were: Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman, CAA managing partner and head of music Rob Light and Irving Azoff, among others. McCartney was later seen leaving with wife Nancy Shevell at his side.
3. Glee’s Darren Criss turned Beatles fanboy for a minute as he lingered near McCartney’s area in hopes of snagging an introduction to the legend. The glass of mysterious brown liquor in his hand, he told THR, was not so much liquid courage as “my liquid to calm the f— down.” As he waited, Criss showed off a couple photos stored on his phone of him in the classic McCartney look of the Beatles’ earlier years (circa 1963). Yes, that means Blaine with a mop-top. But Criss took it one step further: He learned to play the actual chords on a left-handed bass.
4. Jared Leto can add expert marketer to his resume, which also includes rock star, his primary gig as frontman of band Thirty Seconds to Mars, and actor. Following the rockers’ 20-minute set, branded confetti shot out to the crowd bearing the band’s logo and album info.
5. Joan Jett, of “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” fame, was one of several surprise guests booked for iHeartRadio, which is becoming increasingly known for cool collaborations. After using her dressing room doorway to stretch in her skin-tight red leather pants, the surprisingly petite Jett joined Ke$ha (swigging whiskey from the bottle) for a rocking rendition of her 1981 classic “Bad Reputation.” Other planned pairings included R. Kelly with Phoenix, a reprise of their appearance together at Coachella earlier this year. Two days before the fest, however, Kelly pulled out.
6. Sometimes, the most interesting combinations of talent happen simply by chance in a backstage hallway, like when Justin Timberlake spotted Rebel Wilson and proceeded to faux bow down to the actress Wayne’s World-style. Clearly flattered by the gesture, the Pitch Perfect star could only squeak out an adorable, “G’luck tonight.” Timberlake later took to Twitter for an appropriately witty response, writing: “Next time, the DMV.”
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) September 22, 2013
7. Second in fascination perhaps only to Miley Cyrus, Khloe Kardashian and her sisters Kendall, Kylie and Kourtney held hands as they made their way to and from the stage to introduce Drake. But only after grooving in place to Ke$ha’s “Tik-Tok” and snapping pictures of themselves.
8. Justin Timberlake’s Saturday headlining slot brought Adam Lambert back to the Grand Arena after closing out the previous night with Queen. Watching from a VIP platform, it seemed Lambert was spotted by Timberlake when the singer made his way to stage left for a close-up and the two practically fist-bumped.
9. Speaking of Lambert, the American Idol alum confirmed to THR that the shoes he wore the previous night were by Christian Louboutin. “They hurt like hell,” Lambert said with a laugh as he exited the venue following Timberlake’s set.
10. So what was the most talked about moment of night two? Beyond Miley’s mushrooms and McCartney’s mere presence, it was Drake’s shirt: a tee bearing Jaden Smith‘s face. It’s been reported that the photograph captured the precise moment at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards when Will Smith‘s son couldn’t believe his eyes and ears. He was watching Drake’s performance.
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