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Miley Cyrus and a Grinding Santa Claus Steal the Show at Z100’s Jingle Ball in NYC

Miley Cyrus at Z100's Jingle Ball, Madison Square Garden, New York City, December 13, 2013 / Photo by Taso Hountas

It took Robin Thicke about two minutes of stage time at Z100’s annual Jingle Ball fete at Madison Square Garden before he distanced himself from one of his fellow headliners. “I wonder who Miley Cyrus will twerk on tonight,” he said to the arena with a smirk. While the moms in the audience chuckled appreciatively, they were outnumbered by the thousands of teens who shrieked with glee at the prospect. And with a lineup that included Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, Pitbull, Jason Derulo, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Paramore, Fall Out Boy, Enrique Iglesias, Austin Mahone, Fifth Harmony, and, yes, Miley Cyrus, last night’s carefully scheduled party was definitely for the teens.

We were there, too, though. And here’s what we saw:

Performances that reminded us that dubstep isn’t dead: Selena Gomez’ “Slow Down,” Enrique Iglesias’ “Turn the Night Up,” and Austin Mahone’s dance breakdown.

Biggest diva of the night: We mean this in a good way. Ariana Grande left the hair-flipping, booty-dipping antics to Selena and Miley as she blew the night’s lineup away with her untouchable vocal range.

Best guest presenter: Katie Holmes, Anna Kendrick, Ryan Seacrest, and Jordan Sparks all made appearances to introduce performers. But the one that took the cake was Lindsay Lohan, who mentioned that she could relate to Miley’s life-makeover.

Greatest holiday spirit: Grande did a cover of Wham’s “Last Christmas,” but Miley wore a red, sequined, Santa-themed two-piece with oversized cotton-ball earrings and got her grind on with a sunglasses-wearing Santa onstage. One of her backup singers doubled as a prop as she was dressed in a fully decorated Christmas tree.

White dudes who did the Waka-style trap-hands dance: Austin Mahone during his song “Banga Banga,” and Ryan Lewis during his backup duties for Macklemore’s everything.

Best surprise guest: R. Kelly took to the stage to introduce Pitbull and ended up performing “Ignition Remix” in its entirety instead.

Celebs sitting in close proximity to us: Andrew W.K. and Perez Hilton. Neither stood up until Miley came on.

Most endearing stage presence: Paramore’s Hayley Williams actually chatted with the audience between songs and eventually pulled a fan up to perform alongside of her (with his own mic and all).

Best cover song: Miley’s rendition of Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness” brought out her Dolly-mentored country twang in all the perfect places.

Artist with something to prove: After a surprisingly serious speech on gay rights and his role as an activist, Macklemore brought Tegan and Sara out to sing the hook of “Same Love” alongside the song’s original vocalist, Mary Lambert.

Best Robin Thicke quote: “I’ve been making music since I was 11 years old. That’s the same age as some of you!”

Party-starting star: Pitbull, one of the night’s oldest acts, also happened to be the most engaging. He sang “Give Me Everything (Tonight),” his current Ke$ha-collabed banger “Timber,” and “I Know You Want Me.”

Number of kids who were unimpressed until their favorite singer came on: Too many. Shout out to the kid in the row in front of us who covered his ears for almost the entirety of Fall Out Boy, but especially seemed to reject the idea of “Dance, Dance.”