iHeartRadio 2012: Bon Jovi's New Music, Gwen Gets Hit On + More Backstage Moments
iHeartRadio Music Festival's first night was jam-packed with highlights, shared with 13,000 attendees at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Hotel Friday night and potentially dozens of millions of listeners and viewers across various Clear Channel radio and digital platforms as well as streaming partners. But what about the moments you didn't see -- or hear? Billboard had an all-access pass to the halls, rafters, press rooms and bathrooms of the festival's first night and was able to compile this dispatch.
iHeartRadio 2012 : Backstage + Live Highlights
1. New Music, Movie Work From Bon Jovi | Jon Bon Jovi was among the first performers to swing by Billboard's press booth to share the news that not only does his namesake band have a new album ready for a spring 2013 release (produced with longtime producer John Shanks), as well as a pair of songs for the forthcoming Al Pacino-Christopher Walken movie "Stand Up Guys." The tracks are already garnering award buzz, given that the last time Bon Jovi composed an original song for a film it was "Blaze Of Glory" - the anthem for "Young Guns II" that received an Oscar nom and won a Golden Globe for Original Song as well as topped the Hot 100 in 1991. Separately, bandmate Richie Sambora dropped by to talk about his own latest solo project, Aftermath of the Lowdown, a new album released just this past Tuesday on Dangerbird Records.
2. No Doubt's Biggest Fan: P!nk | The currently blonde-haired, carnation-named singer nearly spoiled No Doubt's surprise (shared via @IHeartRadio on Twitter minutes before their opening performance) to anyone in Clear Channel's VIP seats by openly singing (and dancing) along to the band's hits-heavy set ("Hella Good," "Spiderwebs," "Don't Speak" and "It's My Life" were all played) before jumping on stage to share vocal duties with Gwen Stefani on "Just A Girl." "I just got off stage from the raddest surprise performance with No Doubt. She really is that cool. #imjustagirl," Pink tweeted after the show. The singer opens Night 2 of the festival - perhaps Stefani will return the favor on "Get This Party Started"?
3. Britney Spears: Christian Scientist? | For her extremely brief cameo to present the night's second performer Miranda Lambert, the "X Factor" judge appeared alongside "American Idol" host (and Clear Channel personality) Ryan Seacrest to summarize the night's diversity. "You know why I love this festival? Because it's packed with every music thing," Spears said. Perhaps Spears had been reading up from her dressing room, which was randomly marked Christian Science Reading Room below her name for reasons unknown.
4. Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton's Holiday Traditions | As if Miranda Lambert didn't have enough on her plate - between a tour with her side project Pistol Annies, her own hot solo career and a forthcoming TV "dramedy" currently in development based on her family - she has to actually give a crap about Christmas this year, too. The decided non-fan of the holiday will nevertheless get in the spirit this year now that hubby Blake Shelton is prepping his first Christmas album next month (on which both she and the Pistol Annies appear, naturally) and all the preparations that go along with it. "I'm always asking him to put up the tree, and he gets so excited about that stuff," she told Billboard.com shortly before her performance.
5. Green Day and No Doubt's Filthy Love Fest | Following a touching, tear-fillled trip through the press room that included a heartfelt chat about makeup with Gwen Stefani and "The Ellen Show"'s 13-year-old correspondent Talia, an aspiring makeup artist who won a trip to cover the Festival for "Ellen" and become an honorary CoverGirl in the process. No Doubt's visit took a turn for the blue during a surprise reunion with fellow 90s rockers Green Day. "If I wasn't married I'd fuck the shit out of you!" an ebuillent Billie Joe Armstrong declared to a clearly non-plussed Stefani. Instantly saving the vibe from turning uncomfortable, No Doubt drummer Adrian Young immediately retorted, "And if I wasn't married, I'd fuck the shit out of YOU!" to Armstrong, amid thunderous laughter from both bands and all witnessing media. Incidentally, noted guyliner fan Young also traded makeup tips with Talia, sharing the secret to his look was careful penciling then a harsh pressing of the knuckles across his eyelids.
6. Lil Wayne's Potty Mouth, And Surprise Guest | Keeping the potty-mouthed vibe going strong, Lil Wayne kicked off his hits-heavy set moments later by warning the audience "I am your hip-hop Facebook," preemptively apologizing for his curse words. Recently noted as one of 10 Billboard's filthiest rappers, Weezy certainly didn't censor any of the moments from his catalog, but did allow for a sweet turn of events after transitioning from fall 2011 hit "How To Love" into the current "Enough of No Love," a collaboration with Keyshia Cole who made a surprise appearance to sing her lead vocal.
7. Kathy Griffin and Kennedy: Separated At Birth? | Need further proof that 90s MTV VJ Kennedy-turned-Clear Channel on-air personality Kennedy and 90s comedienne-turned-Bravo-lebrity Kathy Griffin are not in fact the same person? Billboard spotted them within moments of each other during our trip to catch No Doubt's opening set, later spotting Griffin dancing in the VIP section to "Hella Good" before re-appearing later to introduce Swedish House Mafia. The final sign of EDM's mainstream arrival, perhaps?
8. The Night's Hardest Worker: Usher | Not only did the singer swing by the press room for a handful interviews hours prior to his surprise appearance at the end of Swedish House Mafia's bled into a 45-minute, sweaty, dance-party set, he also kept the party going for IHeartRadio's official after-party at 1 Oak Las Vegas. Around 2:45 Vegas time, the nightclub posted a picture of the singer taking the stage - where Rihanna, Scooter Braun, Psy and Neyo were all spotted in the crowd.