Halsey dashed on to the stage unannounced for the first time in two years during Machine Gun Kelly's set Thursday night at the Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest, just in time to belt out her guest verse on Kelly's “forget me too.”
“You want me to forget you?” she wailed from the stage at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on the first night of the three-night Super Bowl week festival. “Okay, forget me, too. You tell me you hate me, baby. Yeah, I bet you do.”
Kelly pogoed up and down alongside Halsey, who would later return for her own set, while playing a pink Fender Telecaster during the song, wearing a shirt covered in sparkling silver rings and baggy pink pants, while another special guest and recent Kelly collaborator, Blink 182's Travis Barker, bashed the drums.
It was the kind of moment cherished by the annual big-game-adjacent festival, which seeks to serve up novel pairings who have never co-headlined together before and cross genres.
On Saturday, Green Day is paired with Miley Cyrus, and Friday features Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton and Mickey Guyton, who is also singing the national anthem at Sunday’s Super Bowl, in which the hometown Los Angeles Rams play the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium.
It's the first Super Bowl in Los Angeles in nearly 30 years, and the city is overflowing with parties and concerts all week.
Kelly's set had only a sprinkling of the hip-hop he first became known for, and was dominated by his recent turn to punk-pop. Barker, who is royalty in the genre, would stay on stage with him for several songs, including another that featured a surprise guest, Willow Smith, who joined Kelly for their new duet “Emo Girl.”
There was no mention from stage of the fiancees who have made Kelly and Barker paparazzi favorites of late. Kelly recently proposed to Megan Fox (she said yes), while Barker is engaged to Kourtney Kardashian.
Toward the end of his set, Kelly invited a lookalike fan he recognized from "about 8,000 of my shows” on to stage to stand under a pipe that was supposed to deliver a serious sliming but gave him only a light trickle.
“Apparently we need to go back and watch Nick Jr. and learn how to slime people, cause that was not what I was expecting,” Kelly said with a laugh.
The 20,000-seat Crypto.com Arena was nearly full for the show. Fans had to show proof of vaccination to get in. Most ditched their masks once they were inside the main hall.
Halsey would return in a ruffled black dress that matched her long, straight black hair for a darker set that reflected her own recent turn into more goth- and industrial-inflected sounds.
She told the crowd she'd been extremely nervous to return, after the pandemic and a lot of life events kept her from the stage.
“This is my first show back in two years!” she shouted as she egged on the crowd to jump during her song, “Castle.” “I went out and had a whole ass baby. I dropped an album and a movie. I broke my foot.”
She showed no signs of the injury as she stalked the stage through songs including “Nightmare," “You Asked For This” and “I Am Not a Woman, I'm a God,” her lyrics projected in blood-red behind her with occasional bursts of flame going off.
There was only fleeting mention from the stage of the game behind the festival.
“I know it’s football time, but let’s go Lakers,” Halsey said, looking to the team's championship banners that hung overhead in the arena that until very recently was known as Staples Center.
Halsey acknowledged that the team is having a rough year.
“I was getting ready for the show tonight,” she said, “and I thought, ‘something good has to happen in this building.’”
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter at https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton