A large list of music superstars turned out for the sixth annual (2019) iHeartRadio Music Awards last night (March 14) at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. The live ceremony was hosted by T-Pain and the television broadcast aired on FOX.
The evening was full of amazing performances and heartfelt acceptance speeches as a new crop of winners were crowned in multiple categories. Among them, the BTS Army won the Best Fan Army Award presented by Taco Bell. Special awards were also given including an Artist of the Decade Award for Garth Brooks, the Innovator Award for Alicia Keys, and the L’Oreal FanGirls Award for Halsey. Tiffany Young was also the first Korean female to win an award at the iHeartRadio Music Awards, taking home Best Solo Breakout.
In a new award show twist, lists of nominees were not read before a winner was named. The show might have moved a little faster because of this and thankfully, nothing felt rushed.
Though there were multiple standout moments throughout the night, we’ve narrowed down our picks for the five best moments from the iHeartRadio Music Awards 2019 below.
5. Best New Artists perform together
It was nice to see iHeartRadio crown Best New Artists across multiple genres, instead of just one Best New Artist winner being named. Even better, was an amazing musical medley from four of the Best New Artist winners and nominees. Best New Pop Artist nominee Lauv, Best New Rock/Alternative Rock Artist winner lovelytheband, Best New Pop Artist winner Marshmello, and Best New R & B Artist Ella Mai performed a selection of hits.
Ella Mai performed some of her song “Trip.” Lauv sang his Troye Sivan collab “I’m So Tired,” and then teamed with Marshmello (who was behind the piano) for “Happier.” Lovelytheband also served up a sweet rendition of “Broken" and overall, the entire medley felt fresh, new and fun.
4. Alicia Keys accepts Innovator Award, performs with son Egypt
Fresh off an epic Grammy Awards hosting gig, Alicia Keys lifted up the iHeartRadio Music Awards crowd with an inspirational acceptance speech for her Innovator Award. Then later, she performed her new song “Raise a Man” with her eight-year-old son Egypt playing a second piano behind her.
Among notable comments the “New York” songstress made, was her reflection on how many of her musical inspirations, like John Lennon and Nina Simone, were different from anyone else on the planet. She also encouraged the audience and viewers to embrace their individuality and stop trying to change, starve, and hate themselves.
She urged them, “All we gotta do is just love who we are. That’s all we gotta do. All we really need to do is appreciate our individuality and embrace what makes us unique because in the end, you’re remembered because you’re different. Because you’re special. I’m finally more myself than I’ve ever been and even though it’s a constant process, I encourage you to continue to find the power and the beauty and the unique story in your own journey.”
3. Kacey Musgraves and Chris Martin perform "Rainbow"
Country superstar Kacey Musgraves is still basking in the glow of her amazing Album of the Year Grammy win for Golden Hour. She had teased a surprise guest for her iHeartRadio Music Awards performance of “Rainbow” –and she delivered – with Coldplay’s Chris Martin, no less! Musgraves sat upon a big rainbow and sang uplifting the song while Martin accompanied her on piano. The pair of superstars delivered one of the loveliest musical moments of the night.
2. Halsey accepts L’Oreal FanGirls Award
Halsey is a strong advocate for several important causes including mental health awareness, suicide prevention, and sexual assault awareness. She kicked off the night with a stunning show-opening medley featuring Yungblud and Travis Barker, performing her songs “Without Me” and “11 Minutes.”
Later, the Grammy-nominated songstress reflected on her own “fangirl” days, before she launched her music career, in her moving FanGirls Award acceptance speech.
She also pointed out the negative perception of the moniker saying, “I think that the word fangirl for a long time has been used in a very derogatory sense. I think if a young woman likes something then in the eyes of the rest of the world that makes it stupid or it makes it unimportant or invalid, but as a former fangirl and as a person who is lucky enough to have fans of their own, I know that it is very much the opposite actually.”
She continued by praising her fans for their passion and determination adding, “In a time where it is so necessary to have feeling and to have empathy, when I see a fangirl or a fanboy or a fan-anyone I see a person who is capable of feeling and capable of affecting change and that means a lot to me. So, thank you." Overall, Halsey’s speech was one of the most memorable of the night.
1. Taylor Swift thanks fans, teases new music in Tour of the Year acceptance speech
Taylor Swift has never been shy in expressing or demonstrating mad love for her massive international fan base. In true form, she thanked her fans for everything in her Tour of the Year Award acceptance speech. She also put her naysayers in check. The "Delicate" singer-songwriter noted for all the predictions her Reputation Tour was going to be an epic failure, the forecasters forgot about an “unforeseeable factor” – her fans.
Instead of playing to "empty seats" as critics predicted, Swifties far and wide turned out en masse around the world to see her live shows and proved them all wrong. In fact, the tour ended up being the highest-selling tour in U.S. history – and Swift didn’t take credit for it. Instead, she acknowledged her fans saying, “That’s you.”
She ended the speech with a parting tease of upcoming new music, for which wide speculation was sparked by a recent series of Instagram posts. She said, “And I also just wanted to say before I go that I love your passion, I love your attention to detail, I love how much you care. I love seeing all the things that you’re voicing online, and I just wanted to let you know that when there’s new music, you will be the first to know."
We can only hope, right? Watch Taylor Swift’s full iHeartRadio Music Awards Tour of the Year acceptance speech, which earns our pick for the No. 1 moment at the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards, above.