jingle ball

Backstage at Z100’s Jingle Ball

Demi Lovato looked flawless. Fetty Wap, recovering from a recent motorcycle accident, was all smiles perched on a gold throne. Selena Gomez joined Russian EDM savant Zedd for a surprise duet. This year’s Z100 Jingle Ball at Madison Square Garden was a total smash onstage, but the pop all-stars were even more festive behind the scenes. In between exchanging hugs and holiday cheer, Vulture snagged a few minutes of their time backstage to snap some pics and get the intel on their preshow rituals.

5SOS do the casual bro-band huddle. They also took a sip of eggnog that probably wasn’t very good because they left it on a table and it sat there untouched for the rest of the night. (Next time, add some whiskey, iHeartRadio!) Photo: Krista Schlueter
Brothers Theron and Timothy Thomas of R. City pose for pics in the dressing room. Before they go onstage, they like to “listen to some ratchet Atlanta hip-hop to get into the groove and ready to go.” Sounds fire. Photo: Krista Schlueter
But before they turn up to Future, they say a prayer.
Meanwhile, Chloe (vocals on “Make Up“) sips tea like the best of ‘em. Photo: Krista Schlueter
“I don’t talk. Lots of tea, and I save my voice,” says Sewell, looking a little nervous. (He did make an exception to say hello to Ryan Seacrest, though. The high-powered producer rolled through the backstage area with Broadway staple Matthew Broderick.)
“Is that Tyler Oakley?” Charlie Puth asks before getting ready to go on. It was. The two YouTube sensations snapped a selfie and talked about, of all things, orange chicken before Puth’s set. His ritual: “I breathe. I take a deep breath and I breathe. I actually have a girl who sends me energy via text message.” Apparently, her name is Colette and “she’s awesome.” Here Puth is looking triumphant post-performance.
Tinashe (a presenter) says she likes to find her inner Buddha before performing. “For me, it’s meditation. I have to center myself and relax a little bit because I don’t really get nervous, but I can get really pumped up. I can get too energized. So I like to bring it down. Find my sense of calm.” (“Just kidding!” [Sips wine.])
Joe Jonas exits the stage after his set with new band DNCE.
What does Selena do before going onstage? “I dance! I lose my mind!” Homegirl Hailee sang along gleefully backstage all throughout Selena’s set. Photo: Krista Schlueter
Dinah Jane of Fifth Harmony shows one of Santa’s Little Helpers how to do the Dab. “Our ritual before we go onstage is, I personally grab a speaker and turn on some Fetty Wap or something, just to turn up.”
The always-charming Shawn Mendes takes a moment after his performance to snap a selfie with a fan. He says he can’t go on without drinking a cup of tea first. “I have this tea, manuka honey, throat coat, if I don’t drink that, I’m going to mess up and crack everywhere. Puberty is going to come in full force, and I’m not going to be able to do it. No, I’m kidding. No, I’m serious. But not really. I warm up vocally just before the show. Like, ten minutes to chill and collect my thoughts. Then I’m good. I will honestly pull up Call of Duty videos to try and get my mind away from anxiety. I’m a 17-year-old guy, so we do that.” (Awwwww, Shawn.) Photo: Krista Schlueter
The ladies of Fifth Harmony do vocal exercises just before showtime. (Too bad Yolandah wasn’t there.)
Demi Lovato took a spill during her performance, but she dusted off and got right back up like a boss, and was rewarded with a Santa hat.
Abel Tesfaye was all smiles before closing out the night.