Bella Thorne is just on time for her 2:30 p.m. Billboard Hot 100 Fest main stage set -- but as usual, her reputation precedes her. Hoards fans are already queued up to catch the notoriously eccentric former Disney star, who has earned a wide social media following (her Instagram boasts 18 million loyal followers) for her racy, rainbow-splashed style and raunchy singles like this summer's "Pussy Mine" and "GOAT."
It goes without saying, then, that Thorne knows how to make an entrance.
"We're going to rage our faces f!" the 20-year-old screams, prancing onstage in ripped black fishnets, a bathing suit and robe encrusted with red sequin lips to the tune (what else?) her gritty quasi-theme song "Bitch I'm Bella Thorne." Once the hype-up song is over, Thorne points out a particularly excited fan in the crowd ("I need HER!"), waving over her security to lift the concert-goer onstage, where the two grind together and go on a selfie spree as Thorne continues her set.
She's neither the first nor last surprise guest who pops up onstage -- throughout her 30-minute set, Thorne's sister Dani serves as DJ, her boyfriend, rapper Mod Sun, hypes up the crowd and her friend Tana Mongeau, a YouTube personality (with whom she released the song "Hefner"), plays back-up dancer. (Even Irv Gotti, legendary founder hip-hop label Murder Inc. and Thorne's new mentor, makes an appearance.) "This is my first time performing ever!" Thorne squeals after ripping through "GOAT," and though her words aren't entirely true, one thing is for sure: she's a natural.
It wouldn't be a Bella Thorne appearance, though, if the star didn't address her massive online presence. "Who follows me on social media? This song is about that," Thorne explains near the end her set, launching into a mellow, emotional (and seemingly unreleased) lullaby about how "the Internet is frightening." "I hope you like me -- that's what I'm thinking right now," Thorne coos, sitting cross-legged near the edge the stage, somewhat ironically gazing into the dozens upheld phone screens that surround her.
But after the momentary break from mayhem, Thorne is back in action, grabbing at least a dozen friends (including hip-hop artist MadeinTYO, who also performed his own "Skateboard P" with Thorne onstage) from the sidestage to join her in what resembles more an onstage party than a concert, at one point jumping into the crowd to mingle with fans herself. Before long, "Bitch I'm Bella Thorne" blasts through the speakers again, and Thorne bobs fstage just as quickly as she appeared, leaving fans equal parts confused and exhilarated, but above all wildly entertained.