2019 kicked off with a series of unforgettable performances and a rain-drenched countdown in the middle of Times Square. Christina Aguilera, Post Malone and Shawn Mendes were a part of the year-end festivities that featured performances from some of the year’s biggest hit-makers.
Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve was at the helm of the 2019 introductions, and Billboard followed along to recap the best moments of 2018’s goodbyes into 2019’s beginnings. Take a look at some of the best moments from the 2018 farewell below.
Charlie Puth’s Keytar Solo
The hit-making singer-songwriter busted out his keytar for an epic solo as he performed his 2018 hit “How Long,” one that made everyone feel as energized as he was. After all of the videos Puth has posted toying with his keyboard as the year has come to an end, his NYE performance was an awesome way to see those vids come to life.
Jenny McCarthy’s “Tequila” Joke
Dan + Shay’s performance in the middle of Times Square was plenty noteworthy, between Shay Mooney’s soaring vocals and Dan Smyers getting a chance to showcase how he is behind the guitar, but Jenny McCarthy made their performance even more notable once they were done. Upon finishing their 2018 hit “Tequila,” McCarthy capped things off with quite the quip: “I love Dan + Shay. Their music video for ‘Tequila’ makes me cry almost as much as real tequila.”
Ella Mai’s Bossy Silver Jacket
One of the year’s biggest breakouts, Mai performed her 2018 smash “Boo’d Up” in the most fashionable way possible — a sassy silver puffer jacket that put all the rest of the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve getups to shame (and gave everyone outfit envy).
— New Year’s Rockin’ Eve (@NYRE) January 1, 2019
“Step By Step” On Steps
New Kids on the Block returned for a memorable medley performance that was perhaps most remarkable because of their opening number. As the rain came pouring down over Times Square, the legendary boy band performed one of their biggest hits upon the iconic red staircase in the middle of the New Year’s epicenter — which happened to serve as one of their most iconic performance spaces to date.
Ciara’s Insane “Level Up” Performance
Amid her hosting duties, Ciara proved that she’s more than an emcee when she broke into her energy-filled performance of her latest hit. Donning a seriously fierce outfit — a leather sports bra and fashionable workout pants — Ciara worked the room with her high-powered single, making it clear that she was not only there to host the New Year’s Eve special.
Christina Aguilera’s Non-Auto-Tuned Medley
Following two years filled with Mariah Carey’s “is she singing or is she not” dilemma, Aguilera put on a performance that involved no auto-tune question. As she sang some of her biggest hits like “Genie in a Bottle,” “Fighter” and “Ain’t No Other Man,” Aguilera declared that she doesn’t need any help to deliver a wowing vocal performance.
— Mike Adam (@MikeAdamOnAir) January 1, 2019
Post Malone’s “Better Now” Balloon Drop
After the ball dropped at midnight, Post Malone kept the energy alive in Brooklyn with one of his many 2018 hits, “Better Now.” As he sang the beerbongs & bentleys smash, balloons fell over his sold-out crowd, making for quite the finish to this year’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve finale.
Ryan Seacrest and Jenny McCarthy’s Good-Sport Hosting
Anyone who tuned in to the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve broadcast witnessed the enthusiasm both Seacrest and McCarthy showed during the entire show. But those who watched for the full four hours saw McCarthy’s hair go from full-on curls to dampened waves, and Seacrest’s energetic expressions dwindle as he got more and more wet. Yet, both of them delivered humorous and enthusiastic reporting that made the Dick Clark special feel as important as it did nearly 50 years ago — and made everyone want to tune in for years to come.
New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’ is produced by DCP, and owned by Valence, a parent company of Billboard.