Following lengthy periods of time in between each performer’s brisk set, DJ Z-Trip spun through hits old and new, from Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire” to Drake’s latest “God’s Plan” (off his two-song EP Scary Hours that dropped last week) as guests like Jared Leto, Mumford & Son’s Ben Lovett, Ansel Elgort and more mingled in the crowd -- Kim Petras spent her night dancing in a corner with Pentatonix.
Next up: Michaels, who opened with “Pink” before stepping off stage due to technical difficulties. Despite the issues (for lack of a better word), it wasn’t long until she returned, and finished strong with her Clean Bandit feature “I Miss You.” As the clock creeped past midnight, Khalid took to the stage wearing a wide and friendly smile -- despite the late set time, he was filled with energy, and even showed off his flexibility with a split kick during set opener “8TEEN." “This next song changed my life forever,” the R&B breakout said of his career-launching hit “Location.” He then tossed it over to SZA (“One of the most beautiful souls I’ve ever met in my life,” he said of the star) who delivered “Love Galore” and “The Weekend” before retreating backstage -- though short, her bubbly persona and honest delivery were well worth waiting for.
The night wouldn't be complete without a cameo -- it is Grammy week, after all, and who isn’t in town -- and the night’s came courtesy of Logic, who breezed through an impassioned performance of the Grammy-nominated “1-800-273-8255” with featured vocals from Khalid, who then closed out the nonstop night with another guest appearance from Marshmello for their collaborative chart-climber "Silence."
The evening ran much like the speed-round of a talent show, granting limited time to the final contestants to prove their worth, which made it all the more compelling of a show, and only fueled the already heated dialogue over who should walk away with the honor of Best New Artist when all is said and done on Sunday night.