Watch Kelly Clarkson Pay Her Respects to Aretha Franklin, Plus More From iHeartRadio Music Festival 2018 Day 2
Lynyrd Skynyrd bring the house down with "Free Bird," Logic enlists Ryan Tedder for his show-closing set & more.
Another iHeartRadio Music Festival is in the books, and day 2 had all the insanity we've come to expect from the A-list event. There were collaborations (Justin Timberlake & Shawn Mendes, Logic & Ryan Tedder), there were surprises (an off-the-lineup Lil Jon DJ set) and there was even "Free Bird." Yes, Lynyrd Skynyrd brought their signature song to Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena for some serious Down South rock 'n' roll, sandwiched ever so uniquely between Kelly Clarkson's wailing pop and Imagine Dragons' laser light show.
You literally cannot find this combination of musicians anywhere else, so go ahead and relive Saturday night minute by minute below. (All times in PT.)
7:47 p.m.: Justin Timberlake opens day 2 of the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Festival with the pounding beat of his Man of the Woods lead single "Filthy."
8:17 p.m.: JT asks the crowd, "Can I do something special for you tonight?" That special something is bringing out Shawn Mendes ("He's one of the coolest cats I've met") to join him on the FutureSex/LoveSounds karma classic "What Goes Around…Comes Around."
8:40 p.m.: Carrie Underwood pulls out a half-dozen hits for her set, including the empowering opening number "Church Bells," but there's one song she won't be doing. "I just looked down at my set list, and according to it, I'm singing 'SexyBack' next," she laughs while looking at Timberlake's left-behind rundown.
8:49 p.m.: Underwood, who is expecting her second child with husband Mike Fisher, wraps up the Vegas-appropriate track "Last Name" by saying, "My baby was kicking during that one!"
9:06 p.m.: Mendes returns to the stage for his full set, and the title of his first song, "There's Nothing Holding Me Back," could also refer to the impossibly loud screams coming from his fans across T-Mobile Arena.
9:18 p.m.: Shawn marvels at getting to join Timberlake onstage just an hour earlier, calling him "one of my all-time idols."
9:23 p.m.: The 20-year-old singer wraps up by transitioning from Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody" into his own "Treat You Better," just like he did at his MTV Unplugged set last year.
9:32 p.m.: Following Friday night's Ludacris surprise, this time we get an unexpected two-part set from his Atlanta compatriot Lil Jon, who has the crowd losing their minds over "Turn Down for What" -- even Luke Bryan and Ryan Seacrest.
9:37 p.m.: Lil Jon makes his way off the stage but promises, "I'll be back though! YEAH!"
9:44 p.m.: Luke Bryan arrives and immediately transforms T-Mobile into a honky tonk, getting the party started with "Country Girl (Shake It for Me)."
10 p.m. "Vegas, I hope this is your song," Bryan says before launching into "Play It Again" -- a perfectly appropriate number for the iHeartRadio crowd, given the romantic hit's radio-centered story line.
10:21 p.m.: Kelly Clarkson made headlines earlier in the week after she called out iHeartRadio for inviting her to perform at the festival but not playing her new music. Well, her opening number of the night, "Love So Soft," was her most recent track to break into Billboard's Pop Songs airplay chart, peaking at No. 21, and she pulled out two more songs from her 2017 Meaning of Life album to introduce them to the industry crowd: the rocking "Whole Lotta Woman" and latest single "Heat."
10:31 p.m.: "I ain't sang this song since American Idol," Clarkson says before performing "Respect" to pay tribute to the late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. "I love her, y'all," she says after wrapping the song. "My whole life on TV started with that song."
10:55 p.m.: Lynyrd Skynyrd starts things off with "What's Your Name," and the crowd definitely already knows the answer to that question. "Skynyrd's in the house!" frontman Johnny Van Zant hollers from the stage.
11:18 p.m.: The classic-rock legends have a lot of songs to choose from, but after playing "Simple Man" in honor of the U.S. troops and urging the crowd to sing every word of "Sweet Home Alabama," there was only one possible choice for the final number: "Free Bird." There's a reason someone yells "Play 'Free Bird!'" at almost every concert; it's because there's nothing like being in the room when the 10-plus-minute barn-burner is performed. The guitars are even more epic than expected, and even the younger crowd who came through the doors for Shawn Mendes or Logic can't help but get swept up in the chaotic finale. The whole thing is made even more poignant as video of Johnny's brother -- founding Skynyrd frontman Ronnie Van Zant, who famously died in a plane crash in 1977 at the height of the band's career -- plays overhead so the brothers are nearly duetting on the group's signature song. Massive confetti bursts mark the final minutes of the frenzied performance, and after the band makes their way offstage, a crew of employees with leaf blowers sends mountains of the confetti flying back into the crowd to signal that the Down South party has officially ended.
11:36 p.m.: Homegrown heroes Imagine Dragons have a tough act to follow (do you think Dan Reynolds & company ever thought they would play have to hit the stage after Skynyrd did "Free Bird"?), but they start in reliably larger-than-life fashion, with a massive light show and drum line, followed by Reynolds sneaking up to the front of the stage and launching right into the chorus of their biggest hit, "Radioactive."
12:07 a.m.: Logic is the final performer of the night, and he brings out Ryan Tedder for their new collaboration "One Day." Tedder gets behind the keys for the uplifting song to bring two days of music magic to an end.