“Justice is onstage tonight," Bono declared to open the event. "This is a celebration. This is an instigation. This is a provocation. This is not a charity concert.”
1. Danai Gurira's heart-wrenching roleplay
The Zimbabwean-born Walking Dead actress delivered a chilling monologue from the perspective of an African mother who discovers that her cheating husband has left her HIV positive. Variably rabid while raging and saccharine when addressing her imagined child, Gurira showcased her acting acumen in breathtaking form. Once finished, host Trevor Noah could simply say, "Wow," before entreating the audience to give her another well-earned round of applause.
2. Miley Cyrus shines (and stumbles)
Dressed in an eye-popping pink outfit that recalled her Disney days, Miley Cyrus performed a series of songs off her psychedelic surprise album Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz. After opening with the moody "Evil Is But a Shadow" and segueing into cautionary lament "1Sun," she prefaced the delightfully weird and whimsical "Pablo the Blowfish" by musing, "I must be the first person to perform at Carnegie Hall and sing about a blowfish while charging my phone at the same time."
Cyrus also joined Bono, The Edge and Jessie J for a closing rendition of U2's "One," however a blank teleprompter relegated her to the role of an awkward spectator. "You’ve gotta help me,” she implored Bono. “There’s nothing there.”
3. Jessie J makes it "Purple Rain"
The night's show-stopping musical performance belonged to the London native, who impressively did Prince's classic cut justice with a soaring cover that brought all in attendance to their feet.
4. Hozier jams with Bono and The Edge
"It's an absolute honor to be asked if I was free and perform a couple songs," Hozier said prior to the show on the red carpet. "I leapt at the chance. It's such an amazing cause. Such amazing work has been done by ONE and (RED) and there's so much progress yet to do and so much that's attainable and within our grasp when you look at what's been done."
After opening with timeless blues standard "Illinois Blues," the tall and dapper Irishman thrilled the crowd with an impassioned version of breakthrough hit "Take Me to Church." While cheers reverberated within the hall, Hozier's fellow countrymen Bono and the Edge (whom he referred to as "more than my inspiration, my everything") joined him onstage for? a spirited take on U2's "When Love Comes to Town."
5. Stephen Colbert kids Bill Gates and blasts Donald Trump
The Late Show's newly minted host was in top form from the start of his speech, purposefully mispronouncing Bill and Melinda Gates' surnames in the process of honoring them. “I looked it up on Bing," the comedian offered to widespread laughter.
Colbert also drew raucous applause for his attacks on Republican front-runner Donald Trump, whom he trumpeted as a reason for governments to rally behind ONE and (RED).
"If he's elected, all bets are off," he said. "Just tear up your history books and live in a cage because it's every man for himself."