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The now three-years-old iHeartRadio music festival, featuring some two dozen major acts — among them: Elton John, Justin Timberlake, Paul McCartney, Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus — is nothing if not action-packed. With a rotating stage that allows for minutes-long changeovers and a steady pace of performers along with a diverse lineup that appeals to just about anybody, there was plenty to feast the eyes and ears upon at Las Vegas MGM Grand Arena. And THR most certainly did. Here, seven things seen and heard on night one of the radio extravaganza.
1. Drake wasn’t scheduled to be at the venue until Saturday night, when he hits the stage at 11:50 p.m., but to security’s surprise, the rapper showed up with a sizable posse but sans credentials on Friday evening. No worries, they let Drizzy and crew get inside quickly so that they could make it in time to check out, ahem, Chris Brown’s set.
PHOTOS: iHeartRadio Fest: Elton John, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry Soar
2. Breezy’s 30-minute bow had the likes of TLC’s T-Boz mesmerized. Standing inches away from a monitor in the Warner Music lounge, she sang and clapped along to such hits as “Stripped,” “Deuces,” and “Look At Me Now.”
3. Few things are as entertaining as watching a gaggle of high-powered music executives try to sweet-talk their way into the VIP platform so they can watch their artist up close (and said artist can, in turn, see them). Overheard: “Fire code does not care who you are.”
4. The iHeart power summit was held in the newly cordoned off Warner Music lounge, presumably a perk of the label’s recently announced partnership with Clear Channel. Among the executives spotted feasting on sushi from Nobu and sipping from WMG logo-bearing cups: Warners chairman and CEO Cameron Strang, AEG’s Randy Phillips, Sony/ATV’s Jody Gerson, CAA’s Rob Light, Irving Azoff and his son Jeffrey, an agent at CAA, Capitol Music Group’s Michelle Jubelirer and the just signed viral sensation Ylvis.
5. An introduction of Katy Perry by Kate Hudson did not mention the fact that the pop star’s given name is Katy Hudson (changed around the time of Almost Famous so as not to confuse), but the actress did note how “beautiful, talented, lovable and sparkling” Perry is, adding, “She’s got the eye of the tiger and tonight, right here, we get to hear her roar.”
6. Katy Perry’s 30-minute set was, without a doubt, the best-attended of night one, which also included performances by J. Cole, Keith Urban, Muse, Fun. and Robin Thicke. Seen on the sidelines: Avril Lavigne, dancing to “Part of Me,” and Drake. Miley Cyrus, wearing a red body suit, arrived about half-way through Perry’s performance with a group of about eight including, according to a source, her mom Tish.
PHOTOS: Adam Lambert: A Retrospective in Pictures
7. Brian May of Queen, who closed out the night, also got warmed up during Perry’s set: sipping a cup of tea while watching three songs from a VIP platform. The guitarist later let loose on stage, where the band was fronted by American Idol favorite Adam Lambert for much of the set and a three-song guest turn by fun. singer Nate Ruess. Taking the lead on “Somebody to Love” was clearly a major moment for Ruess, who at one point, grabbed onto fun. guitarist Jack Antonoff as if to confirm that it wasn’t all a dream.
Saturday’s bill includes performances by Justin Timberlake, Phoenix with R. Kelly, Miguel, Ke$ha with Joan Jett, Bruno Mars, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Paul McCartney and Maroon 5, among others. Britney Spears, who recently announced a residency at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas, is expected to introduce Miley Cyrus, with whom she shares a manager. But just as many eyes will likely be fixated on a potential in-the-flesh meeting between Spears and her former flame, Timberlake. Stay tuned (in).
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