Gigs that lit us up like dynamite.

Let’s be real: 2020 hasn’t been the best year for…a lot of things.

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I miss overpaying for a very mediocre meal at a restaurant, but not caring because at least I was with my friends. I miss overcrowded early morning bus rides to campus. And, oh, concerts. Beautiful, beautiful concerts. How I miss them.

I know I have to wait before it’s safe to rave at the Rogers Centre again – but, luckily, artists around the world have gotten creative to keep us entertained.

Here’s my list of this year’s most stunning pop star performances-so far:

1. Chloe x Halle – Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Chloe x Halle are artists. They never give the same performance twice, yet every show they do fits like a puzzle piece into a clear creative theme. It’s like they can read each other’s minds.

The duo has seriously upped the virtual performance game, delivering countless new takes of their already incredible album, Ungodly Hour. It was hard to pick just one for this list – but take a look at what Chloe does with that launchpad and you’ll see why this one took the cake.

2. BTS – Billboard Music Awards

Look, if you aren’t on the BTS train yet, I don’t know what to tell you. The K-pop group pulls out all the stops to deliver top tier performances – they literally rented out an airport to livestream their song Dynamite at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards.

It was almost impossible to choose between this performance and their show-stopping appearance on America’s Got Talent, but the jazz instrumentals pushed this one over the top.

3. Taylor Swift – Academy of Country Music Awards

I don’t need to tell you Swift is a superstar. Her 10 Grammys, 29 American Music Awards and eight Guinness World Records speak for themselves – and so does this performance of betty at the 2020 Academy of Country Music Awards.

4. Miley Cyrus – iHeartRadio Music Festival

If anyone knows how to switch up their style, it’s Cyrus. Her upcoming album, Plastic Hearts, looks like it’ll usher in an ‘80s-esque rock star era for the singer – and I am here for it.

This hard rock take on Blondie’s 1979 hit Heart of Glass shattered me to pieces.

5. Doja Cat – Billboard Music Awards

The BBMAs really treated us this year. First a jazzy rendition of Dynamite and now a theatrical, Chicago-style mash-up of Juicy and Say So from Doja Cat?

I feel so spoiled.

6. Demi Lovato – Grammy Awards

OK, so this technically wasn’t a virtual performance since it happened before social distancing measures were in place. But, come on, I couldn’t not include it.

Lovato took centre stage at the 2020 Grammy Awards to share a brand new song, Anyone, with the world. It was her first major performance since being hospitalized in 2018 for a near-fatal drug overdose – and the song does not dance around it.

The lyrics explore the hopelessness Lovato felt in the weeks leading up to her hospitalization, literally screaming out, “Please, send me anyone.” Through tears, the star delivers one of the most personal and powerful performances of her career.


7. Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande – Video Music Awards

If Gaga and Grande can perform like this while wearing masks, the rest of us have no excuses, TBH.

8. Megan Thee Stallion – BET Awards

Nobody does it like Megan Thee Stallion. I’m pretty sure if you look up “stage presence” in the dictionary, you’d just see a picture of her.

This performance featured Thee Stallion tearing through a desert on an ATV, jumping off a car and dancing flawlessly on scaffolding – all without missing a beat, of course.

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Think you have what it takes to keep up with these superstars? Sign up for IGNITE’s Jazz Funk Dance Class, a free virtual dance-inspired workout class that’ll have you feeling like you own the room.

Jazz Funk Dance Class will be led by Guelph-Humber alumna Vanessa Lyn on Wednesday, November 18 at noon. Get ready for the jazziest lunch break of your life!

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Don’t stop the beat – check out these Toronto-based musicians!

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