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Throughout the telecast, RiRi remained the center of attention, winning four awards in all, including Artist of the Year.

ON THE TOWN WITH THE iHEARTRADIO MUSIC AWARDS

Three-Hour NBC Special Salutes the Stars
and the City of Angels

NBC and Clear Channel came together last night to present the iHeart Music Awards. The evening was centered equally on celebrating and honoring the achievements of modern music, the importance of the fans and the show’s theme of the quest for showbiz success in Los Angeles.

The inaugural fan-voted award show started with the presentation of Hip-Hop/R&B Song of the Year, which was won by Rihanna. In typical L.A. fashion, Rihanna was unable to accept, due to being stuck in traffic on the 405; she appeared not long into the event.

Throughout the three-hour telecast, RiRi remained the center of attention, winning four awards in all, including Artist of the Year. Def Jam ruler Steve Bartels received lots of face time because he was sitting next to her at her table. When RiRi accepted the Artist of the Year award, she called out L.A. Reid, Bartels and Roc Nation’s Jay Brown.

Pitbull opened the show on the back of a makeshift yacht with featured pop group G.R.L. for the current single "Wild, Wild Love." He then segued into a perf of the Top 40 chart-topper "Timber," although trackmate Ke$ha was not present.

Selena Gomez informed the crowd that "Tonight, we're not just celebrating the best in music, we're also exploring everything about L.A.," which introduced a series of recollections about the quest for stardom from the stars themselves, beginning with Lady Gaga. Gomez also informed the eager music fans to expect performances from "L.A.’s most iconic venues, with stops from the Sunset Strip to the beach." In fact, there were more "L.A. experience" confessionals than musical performances.

Throughout the night, personal stories of the strive for artistic success were told by artists including Iggy Azalea, Chris Martin, John Legend, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Pete Wentz, Adam Levine (who belted Randy Newman’s "I Love L.A."), Rita Ora (who confessed the time she accidentally cat-called Steven Tyler at her first show at the Viper Room), The Black Keys, Muse (minus Matt Bellamy), Jason Derulo and Adam Lambert.

Lil Jon welcomed Ariana Grande to the stage by exclaiming, "You don't need to be tipsy to enjoy this next performer," with drink in hand. The soulful songstress showed off her prodigious vocal chops in delivering her Rhythmic chart-topper "The Way," followed by her current smash, "Problem."

After sending his blessings to the victims of the tornadoes, Blake Shelton introduced Luke Bryan, who performed his #1 Country track, "That’s My Kind of Night," to a roaring crowd.

Pharrell Williams, who was there to "celebrate the best in collaboration," as he put it, donned a significantly shorter hat for the evening festivities. The crossover artist also expressed his gratitude to the people listening to the 850 iHeartRadio stations across America and around the world.

Bastille performed a surging rendition of "Pompeii," while Ed Sheeran sang his hits "The A Team" and "Don’t," at the intimate Hotel Café.

Dan Reynolds
of Imagine Dragons introduced "the inspiring story of Kendrick Lamar that began just a few miles away from here in Compton." Lamar recalled being inspired when standing on his father’s shoulders at eight-years-old, watching Dr. Dre and Tupac shoot the video for "California Love." which he then performed on stage in tribute.

Epic Chairman/CEO L.A. Reid introduced the premiere of Michael Jackson’s "Love Never Felt So Good" (written by Jackson and Paul Anka), stating, "One of the greatest honors of my life is being entrusted with part of the musical legacy of perhaps the greatest artist in popular music history." The public will be able to hear the track in its entirety today on iHeartRadio stations across the country. Usher danced to the highly anticipated track with slick moves inspired by the King of Pop. The full album of unheard MJ tunes, XSCAPE, will be available 5/13 through Epic.

Chester Bennington of Linkin Park welcomed a performance from Thirty Seconds to Mars; the two groups will be touring together this summer.

Thirty Seconds to Mars played a stripped-down version of "City of Angels," as the celebrity-filled documentary/music video of the song was projected behind the band, the artists’ heartfelt thoughts on the metropolis that makes and breaks the dreams of hopeful artists advancing the show’s theme.

After performing her current hit "Empire, " Shakira welcomed fellow Voice coach Blake Shelton to the stage, referencing his 11 consecutive #1 Country hits; Shelton strummed an acoustic guitar as he sang "Doin’ What She Likes."

Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul drove down the Sunset Strip to set up an intimate performance by Arcade Fire at the packed, 500-capacity Roxy, kicking off the raucous party with their antihero anthem, "Normal Person."

Gwen Stefani presented the revered iHeart Innovator Award to Pharrell, followed by a compilation of recorded praise from industry peers including Beyoncé, who gushed, "Pharrell’s vision is usually beyond what most people’s brains can comprehend."

Williams then performed "Come Get It Bae," off of G I R L, followed by "Blurred Lines" and "Get Lucky." Inevitably, he closed with the mega-smash, "Happy," which hit #1 at AC, Hot AC, Rhythm, Urban and Top 40. After giving many thanks and a shout-out to Bartels and Joel Klaiman, he acknowledged, "I never dreamt in a million years, as a producer, that I'd be standing here as an artist."

THE WINNERS:
Artist of the Year

Rihanna

Hip-Hop/R&B Song of the Year
Rihanna, "Pour It Up"

Best Collaboration
Pitbull f/Ke$ha, "Timber"

Best Lyrics
Miley Cyrus, "Wrecking Ball" (accepted by her father, Billy Ray Cyrus)

Best New Artist
Lorde (who accepted via video, due to being sick at home in New Zealand)

Best Fan Army
Rihanna and the #RihannaNavy

Instagram Award
Austin Mahone

Young Influencer Award
Ariana Grande

Alternative Rock Song of the Year
Imagine Dragons, "Demons"

Song of the Year
Rihanna f/Mikky Ekko, "Stay"

Country Song of the Year
Blake Shelton, "Boys Round Here"

EDM Song of the Year
Avicii, "Wake Me Up"

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