“Divergent” may be a hard-edged, high-adrenaline blockbuster, but at Sunday night’s 2014 MTV Movie Awards, Ellie Goulding and Zedd brought out the film’s subtler, softer side with their performance of “Beating Heart” and “Find You.”
Goulding took the stage in a flowing white dress with a golden breastplate, crooning the usually bombastic song along to a simple piano accompaniment, courtesy of EDM star Zedd. Her hair blew back from her face. The audience’s hands waved gently. The arena seemed to hold its collective breath.
In some ways, the singer’s mournful fragility recalled Tris at the end of the film, looking back at her ruined world. Goulding was brought onto the film to serve as the inner voice of Tris, contributing multiple songs, including “Beating Heart,” to the soundtrack.
The softness of the performance was soon broken by Miriam Bryant and Matthew Koma, who came in strong and clad in Dauntless black at the end with a rendition of Zedd’s “Divergent” soundtrack contribution, “Find You.”
Lights flashed. Explosions filled the room with smoke. Still, the performance was more stark than, say, the epic music video for the track, focusing all the attention on Bryant and Koma’s powerful voices and Zedd’s DJ/production skills.
On the whole, the “Divergent” soundtrack was inspired by Kanye West’s Yeezus, according to music supervisor Randall Poster. “Really our notion was to find music that was dangerous, tribal and had electronic elements without really being dance-y,” he told MTV News.
But there are some moments of vulnerability in the movie and soundtrack, mostly centered around the relationships between Four and Tris and Tris and her family. Tonight’s performance focused more on those moments, a lovely glimmer among a night of hilarity and celebration.