Pals! Luke Bryan paid tribute to his fellow American Idol judge, Lionel Richie, part of the 40th annual Kennedy Center Honors event. The CBS special aired Tuesday night (Dec 26).
The country music superstar sang two of Lionel’s classic hits–“Penny Lover” and “Sail On,” which the singer released as a member of Commodores in 1979. Check out the performance below.
Luke has often cited Lionel as a musical hero, and has collaborated with the star frequently over the years. He and Richie won a CMT Music Award in 2014 for their mash-up of Lionel’s “Oh No” and “All Night Long.” Luke was returning the favor–Lionel was on hand earlier this year to introduce Luke, who was a CMT Artist of the Year, along with Chris Stapleton, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean and Keith Urban.
Lionel and Luke will take a seat beside pop star Katy Perry when American Idol returns to TV March 11 on ABC.
Luke wasn’t the only artist to honor the R&B legend. Motown icon, Stevie Wonder performed the beloved Commodore’s hit “Easy.”
And, after an introduction by Lionel’s daughter, Nicole Richie, X Factor UK winner Leona Lewis sang a medley of Lionel’s hits “Say You Say Me” and “All Night Long”
Every year, the Kennedy Center Honors shines a light on the careers of artists whose talent has impacted American culture. This year’s honorees are singer-songwriter Gloria Estefan, legendary TV producer Norman Lear, dancer-choreographer Carmen de Lavallade and rapper-actor LL Cool J.
“Each of this year’s honorees became known to and loved by the world because of their complete originality and bold genius,” says Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter. “They are creators of the highest order, and as President Kennedy’s living memorial, the Kennedy Center is proud to shine a light on their boundless ‘contributions to the human spirit.'”