iHeartRadio Music Festival’s Top Five On-Stage Collaborations

The iHeartRadio Music Festival is all about the music, but it’s also all about the collaborations. Since its creation in 2011, the iHeartRadio Music Festival has become notorious for its on-stage collaborations. Year after year, artists bring out special guests to perform with them, shocking us every time. As we stream this year’s festival from the comfort of our couches or experience it in person, we don’t know what kind of surprises we’ll get. Some interesting things are bound to happen. While we wait for the festival to start, here’s a look at some of the best collaborations we’ve seen at the iHeartRadio Music Festival.

Prince and Mary J Blige performing together at the 2012 iHeartRadio Music Festival.
Prince and Mary J Blige | Kevin Mazur/WireImage

5. Lady Gaga and Sting (2011)

According to iHeartmedia themselves, one of the best collaborations and moments in the entire 11 years of the iHeartRadio Music Festival happened when Sting joined Lady Gaga (one of that year’s headliners) on stage to perform “Stand By Me,” as well as The Police’s 1983 hit “King of Pain.” Lady Gaga straddled a motorcycle that was really a keyboard stand. That year, the singer’s set was longer than anyone else’s. She was supposed to get off after 45 minutes but stayed on stage for well over an hour, Entertainment Weekly reported at the time.

When Lady Gaga brought out The Police frontman, she said, “Sting is one of the most kind and beautiful people I’ve met.” When they did their two songs, she said she was going to follow Sting “off stage because he’s cute.”

Lady Gaga and Sting performing at the iHeartRadio Music Festival 2011.
Lady Gaga and Sting | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

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4. Prince and Mary J Blige (2012)

At the 2012 iHeartRadio Music Festival, Mary J Blige gave her audience the surprise of a lifetime when she brought out Prince halfway through her set. Blige told the crowd, “I got a real good friend in the building. He’s one of the most amazing artists to ever walk the earth,” before Prince walked out on stage wearing his now-famous golden visors and pants. The duo performed Prince’s hit song, “Nothing Compares 2 U,” and Chaka Khan’s “Sweet Thing,” a song Blige covered on her 1992 debut album What’s The 411? Prince didn’t say a word as he departed the stage.

3. Gwen Stefani and P!nk (2012)

During No Doubt’s set in 2012, P!nk came out as a surprise guest. During their collaboration on stage, they performed No Doubt’s 1995 hit “Just A Girl” and then gave audiences even more of a shock. They pulled a Britney Spears and Madonna and kissed each other. Only the duo sensually crawled to each other before showing each other some affection.

Gwen Stefani and Pink at the iHeartRadio Music Festival 2012.
Gwen Stefani and P!nk | Christopher Polk/Getty Images

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2. Kesha and Joan Jett (2013)

In her set at the 2013 iHeartRadio Music Festival, Kesha (back when she spelled her name with a $) surprised her audience by bringing out veteran rocker Joan Jett. They performed Jett’s 1981 song “Bad Reputation.” Jett wore red leather pants and a red leather jacket. Kesha wore a black leotard and fishnets. “Bad Reputation” was a great song for the duo to sing together, and fans went wild.

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1. Billy Idol and Miley Cyrus (2016)

Another memorable collaboration on the iHeartRadio Music Festival stage happened when Billy Idol brought out Miley Cyrus to help him sing his hit 1983 song “Rebel Yell.” The whole performance was filled with angst. Cyrus did not hold back on her language when she came out. She excitedly gave her own rebel yell, shouting Idol’s name as they embraced and walked down the stage. At one point, Cyrus, who was wearing sunglasses that said “Billy Idol,” turned around to reveal that she was wearing a leather jacket with Idol’s face on it. The song was perfect for them to sing together.

All of these on-stage collaborations are unforgettable, but we can’t wait to see what happens at this year’s iHeartRadio Music Festival. Dua Lipa, one of the headliners, has a song out with Elton John right now. Maybe that could be a surprise collaboration? We’ll have to wait and see.