ZAYN, Kygo, Mike Posner, The Chainsmokers and DNCE took the stage at Wango Tango, inciting screams and cheers from the mostly teenage crowd. But really, it was the women who stole the show.
Demi Lovato opened up KIIS FM’s annual music festival in Carson, playing hits like “Neon Lights” and “Stone Cold.” But it was hearing “Confident” that was truly unforgettable with its trumpet overtures, snappy beat, and empowering lyrics—and judging by the roaring of the fans, it was the perfect choice to kick off the musical event.
Meghan Trainor and Fifth Harmony tied for “Most Fun.” The “All About That Bass” singer practically glowed in her shimmying and Z-snaps. Her sassy songs including “Lips Are Movin” and recent hit “NO” had the crowd up and grooving to the beat.
Fifth Harmony showcased how far they’ve come from their “X Factor” days of frilly tutus and big bows, now twerking in revealing leather outfits and showing off their curves. Their performance was basically a sexy disguise for an ad as “7/27”, the name of their new album, was emblazoned on the big screen—but the crowd didn’t mind, as Harmonizers cheered for their favorite members.
Gwen Stefani blew the crowd away with her killer looks, style, and confidence—and just how long she’s been around the block. Nostalgic is not quite the word to describe her throwback to “Hollaback Girl” and “Rich Girl”—more of the irrepressible excitement when an old song comes on the radio and one shouts, “This is my jam!” She shouted, “Show me some love!” and the crowd delivered with chants and cheers.
Even the up-and-coming artists who didn’t get their full timeslot of 30 minutes still shone as bright as Meghan’s hot pink, sequined dress. Hailee Steinfeld made the transition from screen to stage look effortless as she worked the crowd, all smiles and fun, during her single “Rock Bottom” feauring DNCE.
Daya had the best of both worlds—the 17-year-old not only performed at the Village but was also bumped up to a guest performer at the main stage, singing her two hits “Hideaway” and “Don’t Let Me Down” featuring The Chainsmokers. Though her confidence was lacking—and who can blame her, performing in a star-studded line-up of that caliber—give her a couple more performances and she’ll come into her own.
Speaking of The Chainsmokers, their DJ’ing was an excuse to turn the StubHub Center into a wild party for a good half hour or so. With puffs of smoke, a beat that rumbled through your core, and glowsticks in the air, it was hard not to jump up and down with the frenzy that shook the crowd.
Ariana Grande closed out the show shrouded in a fur coat and the regality of a queen. Effortlessly making light of a technicality issue—“You guys are the only thing I can hear up here, and that’s OK.”
Grande wowed with her cutesy personality in stopping to say hi to a little girl with cat ears and of course with her pure talent, with hits like “The Way” and “Problem.” In “Bang Bang,” Grande rapped Nicki Minaj’s part, and in soulful ballad “Dangerous Woman,” showed off her powerhouse vocals.
It was a night that made fans fall in love with their idols all over again. Perhaps teens will return to school with a bounce in their step, holding their head a little higher—if anything, they at least walked out of the stadium with confidence on a post-show high.