In another push towards the return of live music, the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards aired live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles to a crowd full of masked-up music fans on Thursday night.
Over the course of the two-hour long program, hosted by Usher, awards were handed out with highlight reels of the artists’ big year in music and a number of the night’s nominees took the stage, including The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, Dan + Shay, Doja Cat and more.
The Weeknd kicked the night off with the first live performance of the recently released “Save Your Tears” remix featuring Grande, who appeared as the singer’s special guest. Continuing on the trailblazing streak of his 2020 album After Hours, The Weeknd was named Male Artist of the Year and was awarded Song of the Year and TikTok Bop of the Year for his hit single “Blinding Lights” which spent a year in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 and spawned a viral dance trend on the video app last year.
Elton John was awarded the highest honor of the night, the iHeartRadio Icon Award, with a tribute performance of “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” from H.E.R., Brandi Carlile and Demi Lovato. “When I first came to Los Angeles in 1970, radio was so important. I’d never heard radio in America before, because I’d never been there before,” John explained in his acceptance speech. “It was just incredible to me. In England, we had one station. Here, you had music coming out of the radio in all sorts of formats, all sorts of styles.”
“But I have to say, radio is such an important thing to all artists. That’s where you hear things, that’s where you discover things,” he continued. “That’s why when you hear yourself on the radio for the first time, when you’re sitting there and you’re so excited. For me, what this award means is that I still covet new artists. That’s what my life’s about now.” John then went on to shout out Lil Nas X as one of pop music’s most groundbreaking artists.
Among the night’s winners are Taylor Swift, who was awarded Best Pop Album for Folklore, and Machine Gun Kelly, who was awarded Alternative Rock Album of the Year for Tickets To My Downfall. Pop’s blazing newcomer Olivia Rodrigo was awarded the Social Star Award and Lil Baby snagged Hip-Hop Album of the Year for My Turn. With the help of their dedicated fanbase, ARMY, BTS took home an award for Best Fan Army.
To view the full list of this year’s iHeartRadio Music Awards winners, visit iHeartRadio.com/awards.