The iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour rolled into New York City’s Madison Square Garden on Friday, and with it came high-octane performances by a slew of stars, including Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Demi Lovato, and Camila Cabello. EW was behind the scenes for most of the night, embedded with Z100 host Elvis Duran, whose access revealed a side of the concert rarely seen. Read on for some of the biggest backstage moments.
1. Suri Cruise was overwhelmed with excitement to introduce Swift
Swift brought concertgoers to their feet after 11 p.m. with hits like “Shake It Off” and “Look What You Made Me Do.” What the audience couldn’t see behind the curtains was the build-up to Suri Cruise’s introduction alongside her mom, Katie Holmes, and Duran. Clapping her hands backstage as she waited for her cue to step into the spotlight, 11-year-old Cruise couldn’t contain her excitement — especially when Swift snuck onto the platform with her backup dancers and singers. Immediately after giving a cute speech, Cruise and Holmes bolted from the area to catch the show. Yep, even Tom Cruise’s daughter gets adorably starstruck!
2. Katie Holmes chatting with Duran
Duran’s night was with filled with hurry-up-now-wait moments. When he wasn’t on stage introducing performers, he conducted or prepared backstage interviews with stars for iHeartRadio, Access Hollywood, and Today. During one of his few chances for downtime, a voice called for his attention: “Elvis, Katie Holmes wants to a take a picture with you.” In walked Holmes, with whom Duran chatted about Cruise’s upcoming big moment. “I’ve loved her since Dawson’s Creek,” Duran later told EW of Holmes, echoing the thoughts of many people who remember her playing Joey on The WB hit. “The thing about Katie Holmes is not only is she a great actress, she’s been in the gossip columns for so long. At the end of the day, after all the pain the press has put her through, she seems like a very nice person.”
3. Niall Horan and Liam Payne backstage
Both One Direction guys performed at Friday’s show and appeared backstage to speak with Duran, and though EW didn’t spot them together, Duran says the heartthrobs had fun on the tour. “They just go off on their own,” he explained. “When they have downtime, they play video games together and just relax. They’re fine. I have a feeling all of the guys have been away from each other long enough to just be cool with each other.”
Reflecting on witnessing their rise to fame over the years, Duran added: “They’re all so talented. Each one of them is just a mountain of talent.”
4. Swift’s super exclusive bash
Despite little indication Swift was backstage for most of the night before her show-closing performance — Swift’s dressing room was hard to spot, even with an all-access credential — PEOPLE reports that Swift and boyfriend Joe Alwyn had a pre-show party in the arena with a group of her famous friends, including Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, Jack Antonoff, and Camila Cabello.
5. Lindsay Lohan being Swift’s biggest fan
Lindsay Lohan has traded Europe for New York, and she’s not missing out on star-studded events like the Jingle Ball. The “Rumors” singer and Mean Girls actress donned a hoodie backstage and danced along to Swift’s “Shake It Off” — and it’s all captured in Lohan’s Twitter video, below. As Lohan wrote in the caption, “❤️ you @taylorswift13.”
6. G-Eazy showing his love for Halsey
In case you didn’t know, G-Eazy and Halsey are a thing — and they weren’t afraid to hide their affection for each other with an embrace during her set. Before he took the stage, G-Eazy was spotted smiling hard while staring at Halsey performing on a screen. He apparently had her on his mind throughout the night. When asked by EW who he was most excited to see perform, G-Eazy replied, “Halsey, because I love her.”
The couple headed to the all-new Avenue to party at a private bash with The Chainsmokers and Cheat Codes. Rihanna also made a surprise appearance with Dascha Polanco and watched G-Eazy perform his hit “No Limit” later in the night.
Fans won’t be able to watch New York’s Jingle Ball concert on TV, but the Dec. 1 show filmed in Los Angeles will air on The CW this Thursday from 8 to 9:30 p.m. ET.
With additional reporting by Sarah Weldon