It's hard to imagine anyone but Cher singing "Believe," until you hear this American Idol sing it. Adam Lambert's cover of Cher's "Believe" at the Kennedy Center Honors, which aired Wednesday night (Dec. 26), is the gift that keeps on giving. In fact, Lambert's slowed-down rendition was so good that it brought Cher to tears. And honestly, you might want to grab the Kleenex before you start watching this clip, just in case.
Along with Cher, this year's Kennedy Center Honors celebrated country singer Reba McEntire, composer Philip Glass, jazz sax player Wayne Shorter, and the co-creators of Broadway’s Hamilton. But it was Lambert's performance of "Believe" that brought down the house. While Cher's 1998 original is a breakup disco anthem that will get you off the couch and out on the dance floor, Lambert turned it into a string laden emotional ballad for this special occasion.
His more sobering take on the pop hit — Cher's biggest — was a real tearjerker, even for Cher who could be seen wiping away tears near the end of his performance. But, it's Lambert's final vocal run at the end that really left the crowd stunned. Cher herself mouthed "woah," seemingly unable to comprehend what just happened there.
After the performance aired, Cher turned to Twitter to thank Lambert, but admitted it wasn't easy putting her feelings into 270 characters. "Tried 2 write Feelings About Adam Lambert Singing Believe In Words, but Cant seem 2," she wrote. "When Your senses are Overwhelmed All Can you feel with your [heart]," she added, using a heart emoji.
"It was a total honor @Cher!!!!" Lambert tweeted back. "You’re a goddess!"
Lambert wasn't the only star who performed in tribute to Cher at the concert. Cyndi Lauper sang "If I Could Turn Back Time," surprising Cher and others with her appearance. And while her performance certainly deserved a standing ovation, Lauper couldn't help but tweet her appreciation for Lambert's performance, too. “He was so great,” she tweeted after the show, which also featured Lauper and Lambert singing "I Got You Babe," aired, “even sound check was great.”
Meanwhile, St. Vincent helped reimagine Glass' "Osamu's Theme," while Lady Antebellum honored Reba with two performances. And Reba's daughter-in-law Kelly Clarkson paid tribute to the country singer with a special rendition of "Fancy."
Before she sang, Clarkson honored Reba in a teary speech in which she called meeting the country legend and becoming part of her family one of "the highlights of my life. So thank you so much Reba for listening to me vent as an artist," Clarkson said. "Thank you so much for comforting me on the phone through my tears like a friend. And thank you for being a really rad grandma for my kids."
It was a night of big performances, as it also included a performance of "The Schuyler Sisters" from the original Broadway cast of Hamilton in honor of Hamilton creators Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, and music director Alex Lacamoire.
The three Hamilton creators were given a special award for their work in the arts because the Kennedy Center didn't want to "wait to acknowledge that [Hamilton] has transformed how we think about art," the Kennedy Center president Deborah Rutter told The Hollywood Reporter.
With a night filled with so many amazing performances how could there really be a dry eye in the place? No wonder Cher couldn't keep it together.