If you spent your New Year’s Eve parked on the living room couch, you might have caught some of this year’s best performances from New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, the annual, musical TV special created by Dick Clark in 1973 as the alternative New Year’s broadcast aimed at younger audiences. It was hosted this year by Ryan Seacrest and Jenny McCarthy. The first hosts of the event were Three Dog Night and George Carlin, with Clark reporting from Times Square (which, I’ve got to say, sounds right up my alley).
Through the years, the show has evolved with the times, and has become the most-watched New Year’s Eve special to date. Dick Clark wound up handing over the main hosting duties to Ryan Seacrest after 2006, and after his death in 2012, Seacrest remained the star of the show. This year, he was joined by funny lady Jenny McCarthy in Times Square, plus Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie holding down the fort in their Hollywood location. The night went without a hitch, with random asides like the Most Tweeted Emojis of the Year segment (I...don’t know) and an impromptu rap about the year 2015 by former New Kid, Mr. Donnie Wahlberg, who standing alongside Jenny McCarthy really brought me back to the early '90s. If you’re wondering what you missed as far as performances though, these were the seven best of the night:
Wiz Khalifa And Charlie Puth Taking Over Times Square
I’m a bit sad this performance was placed so early in the night because it definitely deserved a later spot. Maybe it’s because this song was such an anthem for 2015 and I heard it everywhere I went, but either way, Khalifa and Puth were both on fire for it. And considering Khalifa was one of the (very) few artists of color on the show, he deserves a mention at the least.
Ellie Goulding Being Amazing In A Super Subtle Way
There’s something about Ellie Goulding’s mannerisms (aside from your insane talent, clearly) that make her an outstanding performer. She sings from the heart and it was obvious that’s what she was doing tonight. Less about over-the-top bravado, and more about the craft, Goulding’s delivery during her spot on New Year’s Rockin’ Eve was warmly received. Plus it was her birthday! What a fantastic way to celebrate another year on earth.
Pentatonix Making Acapella Cool Again
Pentatonix's a cappella stylings were highly appreciated during tonight’s event. It was like a breath of fresh (yet still mainstream pop-y) air. The group performed a wicked version of “Can’t Sleep Love” early on in the night and it was better than any version I could find of it on YouTube. They came back later in the evening with a second performance, but I don’t think it could top their first appearance on the show. Basically, if you weren't a fan before but heard this performance, you better be Googling the hell out of them now.
Fall Out Boy Was Irresistible Tonight
Sure, we were already several glasses of champagne into the night, but that doesn’t mean we're wrong when we feel that Fall Out Boy’s performance in the post-New Year’s Eve hours wasn’t amazing and memorable as hell. Let's just go with these feelings, guys. Performing both “Irresistible” and “Uma Thurman,” FOB made sure to deliver top notch performances. The crowds in Hollywood certainly seemed to think so!
5 Seconds Of Summer Making Us Feel Like We’re Living In A Teen Summer Movie
I’ll admit I haven’t heard a whole lot of 5SOS, but I know they’re a pretty big deal these days. When they started playing “Hey Everybody” though, I began to wonder why the hell it sounded so damn familiar. With some quick Googling, I figured out it’s because the song contains elements of Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like The Wolf” (which may be showing how old I am). Regardless, watching 5SOS perform is like being an extra in one of those movies where a group of teens is having a house party and they’re the band that comes to play. It was a breath of fresh air.
Taylor Swift’s Howling New Video
Alright, so this wasn’t exactly a live performance but watching Ms. Swift’s debut of the video for “Out of the Woods” was one of my favorite moments of the evening. I wasn’t too sure what was going on at first, what with the roots coming out from under the ground and the wolves surrounding her, but as she went from desert to snowy tundra and back again, it began to make sense. The song and video describe a relationship that constantly goes from hot to cold, and by the end of it, we see the words, “She lost him but found herself, and somehow that was everything.” If you needed a clear message for 2016, it’s to know that other things might go hot and cold in your life, but at the end of the day, all you really need is yourself.
Demi Lovato Rocks New Year’s Eve
#Confident2016 was the hashtag created for Demi Lovato’s performance at the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and she certainly was that and then some! Decked out in a thick coat (hopefully made of non-animal fur), Ms. Lovato was phenomenal during her performance as she sang to the hoards of people huddled in Times Square, hanging on her every word. Honestly, she should have had more airtime she was so good. I vote for more Demi Lovato in 2016!
Image: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images