Wearing a cute red leather mini-dress with bedazzled chest and black knee-high boots, Rodrigo kicked off her energetic set with "all-american b----," bringing the dramatics she jumped around singing about knowing her age and acting like it, even screaming before delicately singing about being "pretty when I cry." She then moved into "get him back!" listing all the ways she wants revenge on an ex, from keying his car to telling his mom how much he sucks.
Rodrigo switched gears for "deja vu," which she told the crowd at Madison Square Garden was inspired by New York's very own Billy Joel. In the track, from her debut album SOUR, she reminisced about a past relationship where her ex has moved onto a new girl but is using all the same moves he did with her.
To the excited screams of the crowd, she moved onto "vampire," the lead single from her sophomore album GUTS. Fortunately, her Jingle Ball performance wasn't anything like the music video, and matching chaotic VMAs performance. Instead of the stage falling apart, her vocals and energy took the spotlight as the audience cheered and screamed along.
Her next song was the one that started it all and one that is "very special" to her. Sitting at the piano, she beautifully sang "driver's license," talking about the pain of a relationship ending while missing her ex in all the plans they had made.
The 20-year-old sensation then moved into "can't catch me now," a track from the new Hunger Games movie The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes and one that she was excited to write as a longtime fan of the series. The soft song continued to build energy and defiance, culminating in her repeatedly declaring "you can't catch me now" as her fire burned bright.
The last two songs of her set were some of her most angsty tracks from SOUR. Starting with the rocking opening of the album, "brutal," Rodrigo jumped around the stage to the song that is a perfect encapsulation of what it feels like to be a teen, especially in the lyric, "If someone tells me one more time, 'enjoy your youth,' I'm gonna cry." She then ended her set and wrapped up the night with "good 4 u," sarcastically telling her ex how happy she is that he is doing good while she wishes that she could do great without him.
The "Vampire" singer recently reflected on the process creating her successful sophomore album GUTS, saying that it taught her "important lessons" about her craft while also "[testing] my confidence and patience."
"You can never sit down at the piano and try to write something that everyone will like; that always results in a really bad song," she told Variety. "It taught me that I write songs that I want to hear."
Rodrigo, who is gearing up to bring GUTS directly to fans with a world tour kicking off in February, has received wide praise for the album, even earning six nominations for the 2024 Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance for "Vampire."
"It's just such an honor and such a pleasure to be recognized by the music community in such an incredible way. I'm very grateful," she said of her nominations, calling the nods "so insane."
If you missed any of the holiday fun, fans across the country will be able to watch an exclusive television broadcast on ABC on Thursday, December 21st at 8pm ET/PT. The special will also be available on demand and on Hulu the following day.