Queen, Elton John highlight the first day of the annual Las Vegas pop extravaganza.
Even the most forward-looking Top 40 diehard switches over to the oldies station every once in a while, and the first evening of the 2013 iHeartRadio Music Festival acted as that much-appreciated change-up. The Internet radio platform's yearly gathering at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas always turns a bunch of performances of massive artists from dissimilar styles into a once-in-a-lifetime live playlist, and the lineup on Friday night (Sept. 20) once again suggested that EDM, down-home country, quirky alt-rock and bubblegum pop could all exist under one roof and dazzle one audience. While performers like Katy Perry, Chris Brown, Muse and J. Cole made their cases as enduring artists while the gargantuan showcase slithered on, a pair of wily veteran artists -- Elton John and Queen -- effectively stole the show, with timeless songs that music fans of all genres can sing along to. Perry may have more than a half-dozen No. 1 singles on the Hot 100, but Queen has "We Will Rock You" and "We Are The Champions" to pull out as back-to-back finales. It wasn't a fair fight from the start.
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Of course, Queen and accomplished pop vocalist Adam Lambert had to do more than just show up and run through the rock group's back catalog in order to earn the headlining slot over Perry on Friday night. With each new show, Lambert's involvement with the five-decade-old band makes more sense: Freddie Mercury's king-sized songwriting makes for a perfect vessel for Lambert's operatic wail, and iHeartRadio fest attendees who wanted to stick around for "Another One Bites The Dust" got to witness the magnetic power of Lambert's pristine high notes. The former "American Idol" runner-up oozed charisma as he strutted around the stage, winking at his reputation of a fill-in while also reminding people they should still pay attention to his solo career whenever this stint with Queen, er, bites the dust.