Usher is hosting the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards, airing Thursday on FOX

By Eric Todisco
Updated May 27, 2021 07:55 PM
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Usher is ready to put on the show of a lifetime.

Ahead of the 2021 iHeart Radio Music Awards on Thursday, the 42-year-old superstar and new dad spoke exclusive to PEOPLE (the TV Show!) about his plans to kick off the star-studded show as host.

"I do have an incredible opening prepared and it is my outfit to start with," says Usher. "There's going to be many moments. I'm actually going to bring the club to the iHeartRadio Music Awards experience. I built an entire club to just keep the lounge in the energy throughout the entire night. So it's going to be a really incredible experience."

The epic show, which will feature performances by The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, Silk Sonic's Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars, Dan + Shay and Doja Cat, marks one of the first times that the "Yeah!" singer and his fellow stars will be joined by a live audience since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It really feels good to literally have a crowd in front of you," he tells PEOPLE (the TV Show!). "We've been doing these things online. It's really hard to conjure that energy and recreate the moment that happens between you and an audience. You can't create it."

"So really excited to, for the first time in the Dolby Theatre, to have an actual audience and be able to perform and be hopefully an amazing host for them," Usher adds.

Be sure to check out PEOPLE's iHeartRadio Music Awards coverage to get the latest news on music's big night.

iHeartRadio 2021 Usher
Usher
| Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty

Usher also spoke about the success of his "protégé" Justin Bieber, who is up for the most nominations of the night along with The Weeknd, Megan Thee Stallion, Roddy Ricch and Harry Styles.

"I'm really happy for him to continue to just be the incredible man that he is, not just the artist," says Usher, who was a mentor to Bieber, now 27, as he came up. "To be able to come through some very tumultuous times and now be very happy with his lovely, incredible wife and just to see him being creative and staying open and staying lifted. He has a light around him."

Usher and Justin Bieber
Usher and Justin Bieber
| Credit: Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

Thursday's show will also feature appearances from Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, Twenty One Pilots, Nelly, Machine Gun Kelly, French Montana, Robin Thicke and more.

Elton John will be honored with this year's Icon Award presented by Lil Nas X and Coldplay's Chris Martin. He's only the second artist to earn the award after Bon Jovi did in 2018.

The iHeartRadio Music Awards are airing live from Los Angeles from 8-10 p.m. ET on FOX.