The rest of the parade was filled with marching bands, celebrity cameos (like Tina Fey introducing the cast of Mean Girls) and stellar performances from music stars including Kelly Clarkson, Bad Bunny, Diana Ross, Kane Brown and Ella Mai.
Here are the 16 best moments from the parade.
-- The Prom just opened on Broadway last week, but its cast made history during their stomp down 6th Ave. The show tells the story of a lesbian high schooler who is banned from taking her girlfriend to the titular dance. The cast grooved through the show’s high-energy closer, “It's Time to Dance,” and the performance ended with a kiss between the show’s lead couple, played by Caitlin Kinnunen and Isabelle McCalla -- marking the first time the parade's telecast has shown a same-sex smooch.
-- Bundled up in a black, fur-lined coat, Kelly Clarkson powered through Meaning of Life track “Heat.” The superstar ad-libbed at the end of her performance, subtly proving she was singing live.
-- Sugarland rocked out with their country hit “Babe." While the song's featured artist Taylor Swift did not appear, her vocals came through in the set's backing track.
-- The band was followed by another country act, rising star Carly Pearce. Wearing a fuzzy, leopard-print jacket, the star sang her new single “Closer to You” as the Jolly Green Giant looked on.
-- The Voice’s season 14 winner Brynn Cartelli performed her coronation single “Walk My Way on a modern art-inspired jungle gym for Universal Kids. The 15-year-old will open up for Clarkson on next year’s Meaning of Life Tour.
-- John Legend wheeled his way to 34th street on a Build-A-Bear’s sailboat-inspired float. The crooner, sporting a cherry-red peacoat, brought holiday cheer with “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”
-- Surrounded by donuts, cupcakes and other baked goods, acapella stars Pentatonix harmonized through “Where Are You Christmas” on a float for Entenmann's.
-- Halfway through the parade, rising star Bazzi performed “Beautiful” among a swarm of young hockey players. The hazy ballad provided a welcome break from holiday classics.
-- Rocking a cinched black puffer coat, Rita Ora sang atop the parade’s most colorful spectacle, Krazy Glue’s fun house-inspired float. The global star sang “Let You Love Me,” the fourth single from her forthcoming sophomore album, Phoenix (out Nov. 23).
-- Puerto Rican native Bad Bunny represented Latin music with a performance of his Spanish-language hit “Estamos Bien.” Swagged out in an oversized yellow coat, the trap singer performed next to a gang of Sour Patch Kids overrunning the NYC skyline.
-- Vine-stars-turned-musicians Jack & Jack brought the party with their Jonas Blue collab “Rise.” The duo braved the cold alongside the Ninja Turtles and brought the morning’s most energetic performance.
-- R&B newcomer Ella Mai was a vision in white. The rising star sang her colossal hit “Boo’d Up” among a sea of mechanical safari animals.
-- The Barenaked Ladies were easily the parade's most random musical act. Standing atop a confetti-filled volcano, the band performed a condensed version of their 1998 Hot 100 chart-topper; fret not, the mega-hit’s nonsensical “chickity China” bridge was in tact.
-- Kane Brown grinned from ear-to-ear through his performance of “Good As You,” his latest single off his sophomore effort, Experiment. The country crooner has plenty to smile about; his album just debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 this week. Brown sang in front of an intricate rendering of Mount Rushmore, courtesy of South Dakota Department of Tourism.
-- Country icon Martina McBride joined the Young People’s Chorus of New York City for a magical take on “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The ensemble performed from the Balsam Hill float, quite possibly the parade’s most elaborate exhibit; it even featured a working reindeer merry-go-round.
-- Thanksgiving is a family affair and Diana Ross kept that spirit alive on top of the Hallmark Channel’s advent calendar-themed float. Ross brought her family -- including Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross -- for her rendition of the cheery "Wonderful Christmastime."