The 44th annual Kennedy Center Honors special airs tonight on CBS, featuring star-studded tributes to Joni Mitchell, Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr. and Bette Midler, as well as Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels and opera baritone Justino Diaz.
Among the performers and presenters who took part in the gala, which was held December 5 in Washington, D.C., were Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Paul Simon, Graham Nash, Herbie Hancock, Melissa Manchester and many more.
Nash was featured as the narrator of a video presentation celebrating Mitchell, who was his one-time romantic partner. Among the performers who paid tribute to the legendary Canadian singer/songwriter were Norah Jones, Ellie Goulding, Brandi Carlile, Hancock and Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard.
Adele narrated the tribute video honoring Midler, while presenters for Bette’s segment included Manchester and actresses Goldie Hawn, Scarlett Johansson and Barbara Hershey.
Simon, a close friend of Michaels, performed his classic Simon & Garfunkel tune “America” in honor of Lorne. The segment also featured tributes from Steve Martin and various former and current SNL cast members, including Jimmy Fallon, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Seth Meyers, Kevin Nealon, Pete Davidson, Kenan Thompson, Kate McKinnon, Michael Che and Colin Jost.
The event’s finale featured a salute to Gordy, beginning with a film presentation narrated by Oprah Winfrey. Robinson delivered both a speech and a performance, which was followed by performances from the cast of the Temptations-themed Broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud and contemporary R&B star Andra Day.
Wonder brought the festivities to a close with a medley of hits that included “My Cherie Amour,” “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” and “Superstition.”
The Kennedy Center Honors special airs at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on CBS.
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