The Oscars might be the film world’s biggest night, but this year, music was front and center too.

The best original song nominations and Academy Awards performers included two of the biggest pop stars in the world in Rihanna and Lady Gaga, not to mention previous winner David Byrne, Diane Warren up for a 14th time, and Golden Globe victors (and eventual 2023 Oscar champs) M. M. Keeravani and Chandrabose. We also had Lenny Kravitz soundtracking the “in memoriam” segment, Austin Butler nominated for playing rock legend Elvis Presley, and Halle Bailey introducing the first trailer for Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

It was only confirmed earlier Sunday that Gaga would sing her nominated song “Hold My Hand,” and her onstage intro explained why she decided to perform after all. “I wrote this song with my friend BloodPop for the film Top Gun: Maverick in my studio basement,” she said. “It’s deeply personal for me, and I think that we all need each other. We need a lot of love to walk through this life, and we all need a hero sometimes. There’s heroes all around us, in unassuming places, but you might find that you can be your own hero even if you feel broken inside.”

But beyond what you saw onscreen, Billboard was inside Hollywood’s Dolby Theater on Sunday night (March 12) and at the Governors Ball afterparty to cover all the action in person, and we’ve rounded up seven music moments the cameras didn’t catch — and one moment the in-person crowd missed.

Katie Atkinson
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