The biggest names in pop, country and hip hop have rung in the New Year at the traditional Rockin’ Eve concerts.
ABC’s broadcast bounced around parties in L.A., Miami, Nashville and New York City, where many thousands — host Ryan Seacrest called it a million — braved the cold to watch performances from the likes of Taylor Swift, One Direction, Snoop Dogg, Magic! and Florida Georgia Line.
The action didn’t stop there. Billboard’s Hollywood party hosted some of the hottest artists on the planet. Billboard has picked seven of the night’s most memorable moments.
Taylor Swift was right at home on New Year’s Eve. The pop superstar has relocated to New York City, and she’s settling in just fine. “It’s the best,” she told Seacrest of her new home. “Honestly, this is the greatest city in the world. I’m so lucky.” The locals gave her the warmest of welcomes when she served up “Welcome to New York,” the opener from her hit new album 1989. And then came “Shake It Off.” Start spreading the news…Taylor Swift is the new Queen of New York City.
UPDATE: Swift’s performance was flawless, but post-show, fans captured Swift briefly losing her balance walking off the stage. Naturally, she shook it off.
The pre-NYE rumors of Niall Horan leaving One Direction turned out to be well off the mark. The boyband used the platform of Billboard’s Hollywood Party to dispel any notion that five would become four. The lads kicked off the broadcast with a performance of “What Makes You Beautiful,” with cheeky-chappy Niall clearly happy on stage with his British buddies. The boys worked as hard as anyone, making return trips to the stage for renditions of “Story Of My Life,” “Steal My Girl” and others.
Jenny McCarthy is a stickler for tradition. The co-host of ABC’s broadcast kept alive her ritual of a New Year’s snog for the cameras. Though on this occasion, she didn’t plant one on a random guest in the crowd. The actor and model landed her lips on her husband, Donnie Wahlberg of New Kids on the Block. She also got to deliver one last gag for the year. Whilst outro-ing 1D, she told the cameras “I’m proof that if you stalk a boyband member for long enough, they just might marry you.” Before the New Year clocked in, Jenny was trending on Twitter in the U.S.
Idina Menzel couldn’t have hoped for a more appropriate setting to perform her big hit from Frozen. The singer looked as though she was singing “Let it Go” from inside of a freezer cabinet. This wasn’t a perfect performance. Menzel hit a few bum notes on the stage at Times Square, and she struggled with timing issues. Though she will take with her into the New Year the experience of having a city-sized crowd singing back at her, “the cold never bothered me anyway.” Perhaps the cold bothered Menzel a touch.
It’s a long way from Mullumbimby to New York City. Just ask Iggy Azalea. The Aussie singer, who in 2014 joined the Beatles as the only acts to rank at Nos. 1 and 2 simultaneously with their first two Hot 100 hits, capped her big breakout year with a stint onstage at Billboard’s Hollywood Party. She had announced just prior to the show that she’s been diagnosed with TMJ (or temporomandibular joint dysfunction), the medical term for jaw pain or dysfunction. There was no obvious sign of her affliction when she took to the stage to perform “Fancy” with Charli XCX.
Elton John’s honeymoon period ain’t over just yet. The recently-married British pop legend was all-smiles when he played to a packed house at Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center for his first New Year’s Eve concert. Elton gave the viewers back home a (seated) performance of “I’m Still Standing,” a hit from 1983.
Lady Antebellum worked a little “freaking awesome” into their set when they played Nashville with a medley that included a cover of “Thrift Shop”… with the “naughty bit” taken out. The trio is back in the spotlight after the recent release of their fifth album proper, 747.