Because Rihanna wasn’t there yet, the award for Hip Hop/R&B Song of the Year was accepted on her behalf with little explanation. The first hint of what really happened came a few minutes later when the announcer threw to a commercial with word that the singer was stuck “on the 405,” as the Angelenos say.
It was a fitting time to mention it, since Selena Gomez had just introduced the first ode to Los Angeles for the night. It featured Lady Gaga talking about her arrival in her new city. While a perfectly good LA story, nothing could really top someone getting stuck in bad traffic on her way to the awards themselves.
Of course, no one who lives in Los Angeles would pick that route to downtown during rush hour.
Update: Rihanna did make it to “iHeart Radio” eventually — she was in the audience when her fans won the “Best Fan Army” award and again when she won Song of the Year.