The iHeartRadio Music Awards are here.
The Weeknd took home the evening’s top award, song of the year for his long-reigning hit “Blinding Lights,” which also scored the award for TikTok bop of the year.
The win was significant for the star after being shut out by the Grammys for his critically acclaimed album of the same name.
Machine Gun Kelly presented the award to The Weeknd for his hit “Blinding Lights,” adding to the singer’s big night.
After his acceptance speech, the star mistakenly left his award on stage and despite Usher’s best efforts, the crooner couldn’t get The Weeknd’s attention to pass off his statuette.
The performance was simple, with only minor lighting effects and both star donning plain wardrobes, but they were met with thunderous applause several times throughout the performance, especially when Grande, 27, hit some of her signature sky-high notes.
The performance was Grande’s first appearance since her recent wedding and The Weeknd’s first since boycotting the Grammys earlier this year.
Usher, who is serving as the evening’s host, then took to the stage.
Ariana Grande and The Weeknd opened the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards with a performance of ‘Save Your Tears.’. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
“Live music is back, ladies and gentlemen,” he said shortly before passing the mic to French Montana, who awarded the best collaboration of the year award to Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé.
Megan Thee Stallion gushed over her duet partner, Beyoncé, during the package that played after her win.
Usher, 42, then took a brief moment to sit down with Elton John to thank him for his contributions to music. John, 74, made note that he won an Oscar in the same building that the award show was taking place – in the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, Calif.
Best new country artist Gabby Barrett then introduced her “label mates” Dan + Shay, who performed “Glad You Exist.” The duo was also awarded best duo/group of the year.
Next up was an alternative rock artist of the year win for twenty one pilots. Additionally, the two won alternative rock song of the year for their hit, “Level Of Concern.” They dedicated the award to “anyone who has been to a show of ours” and has offered them continued support.
Host Usher kicked off the show by declaring, ‘live music is back, ladies and gentlemen.’ (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
Usher then sat down with Lil Nas X, who said he is working on “the best album ever,” which is set to debut this summer.
Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak soon took the stage as their new supergroup Silk Sonic and performed their sole song, “Leave the Door Open.” The duo gave the audience plenty of opportunities to sing along before .Paak dramatically took over, leaving a smile on Mars’ face.
Taylor Swift then won best pop album of the year, thanking everyone that helped her on her album folklore from producers to photographers.
The Weeknd won best male artist of the year, another huge victory from him after his Grammys snubs.
This year, iHeartRadio offered the icon award to John, who Usher called “one of the greatest artists of all time.”
Coldplay’s Chris Martin took to the stage to offer up the award.
“I’m so happy to see real people,” he said, joking that he got into a “fistfight” with the teleprompter operator and hoped he hadn’t messed with his dialogue. Martin joked that he didn’t know much about John, and was going to lean on the pre-written text.
Martin teased that the songwriter was born in America and worked with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. He frequently mispronounced song names and even swapped some out with titles by Billy Joel and Stevie Wonder.
The tribute to the “Rocketman” didn’t stop there, however, as superstars like Lady Gaga and Adele spoke during a video package about his legacy.
Next came a performance in John’s honor by Demi Lovato, H.E.R. and Brandi Carlile, who sang “Benny and the Jets,” “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” and “I’m Still Standing.”
The performance was Lovato’s first since recently coming out as non-binary.
Martin returned to the stage to continue gushing over the musical legend and accidentally cursed, leaving the broadcast to go silent for a moment.
Doja Cat performs onstage at the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards at The Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
In his speech, John praised young artists, including Lil Nas X, who he said has “balls of steel.”
Next up came Nelly, who introduced hip-hop artist of the year, Roddy Ricch.
Usher then took a moment to thanks alternative rock album of the year winner for “daring to be different.” The musician then promised that despite recently shifting in genre, he would “never” be finished with rap.
Best new pop artist Doja Cat then took to the stage for a spooky performance of her music, including the hit song “Say So.”
Next came the award for female artist of the year, which was awarded to Dua Lipa, who singer Ava Max called “the quarantine queen” thanks to her dropping an album just before lockdown began last year.
Grammy and Oscar winner H.E.R. then was awarded R&B artist of the year by Robin Thicke.
Usher and Lil Jon performed ‘Yeah’ at the iHeartRadio Music Awards. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
“At the end of the day, I’m nothing without you guys, the fans,” she gushed. “… I’m so, so, so grateful.”
Comedian Joel McHale then introduced a performance by Usher himself, who sang a medley of his own music, featuring “Confessions Part 1,” “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love” and more. He was joined on stage by Lil Jon.
The 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards aired on FOX.