Elton John and some of the biggest names in music are doing their part of to provide a ray of sunshine amid the darkness and celebrate the little joys of life.
Celebrity benefit concerts aren’t a new idea, necessarily, but with the country largely in lockdown, John and his fellow artists had to get creative for the iHeart Living Room Concert for America special, which aired Sunday night on Fox.
John introduced the show with a heartfelt message for viewers, recorded in his personal residence — just like all of the star-studded performances from the all-star slate of entertainers who sang their biggest and most beloved hits from the comfort of their homes.
“Here we are, all together at home. You’ve got your family and loved ones. I’m keeping mine close too. We’re taking care of one another, looking out for each other, doing what we can during this crisis,” John shared. “There’s a lot of grief out there. Uncertainty and fear. But let me tell you what’s going to keep us together. All the goodness that’s still happening in this world.”
“Those doctors, nurses, and scientists on the front lines. They’re living proof that most super heroes don’t wear capes,” he continued. “Families finding ways to sing happy birthday to loved ones. Teachers writing letters to their students. It’s inspiring. It shows us that once we get through these tough times, better days lie ahead.”
John added, “Since we’re all hunkered down together until those days greet us again, we thought that we’d put on a little show for you for the next hour. Do what we can to lift your spirits. Have some artist friends play a few songs, say hi, and tell you we love you from our homes to yours.”
Alicia Keys kicked things off with a performance of “Underdog,” and began with a message of gratitude for all those putting themselves in danger to make the world still run.
“This song is like a prayer. My hope is that we remember how resilient we are and how we defy the odds,” Keys shared. “I’d like to dedicate this song to all the first responders and medical professionals that are risking their life to keep us safe. So grateful.”
Immediately after Keys’ performance, fans got a special appearance from the Backstreet Boys. AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson, and Brian Littrell all filmed their parts of “I Want It That Way” from their separate homes and cut them together into a flawlessly timed music video that captured the magic of their dynamic even though they couldn’t be in the same room together.
Littrell introduced the assembled video and voiced a similar message of gratitude, sharing, “I want to thank all of the frontline responders that are donating their time and putting themselves in harm’s way to take care of their fellow citizens. So stay safe, stay home and protect yourself.”
Billie Eilish and her brother/collaborator/producer Finneas O’Connell also joined the special, sitting together on the family’s living room couch.
O’Connell strummed his guitar for an incredible acoustic performance of Eilish’s megahit single “Bad Guy” that added a new a fascinating dynamic to the tune — especially when she and Finneas harmonized delightfully for the second verse.
After their set, fans got a wonderfully flirty and romantic performance from Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes, who are staying in self-quarantine together in Miami.
Cabello sang her hit “My Oh My,” with Mendes providing the guitar accompaniment, and the songstress shared a supportive message with her fans before their number: “Stay safe, stay healthy, stay kind and compassionate with yourselves and with each other and let’s pull through this together, like we always do.”
Mariah Carey closed out the big special with a diva-worthy performance of “Always Be My Baby,” which she dedicated to her own children — 8-year-old twins, Moroccan and Monroe.
“I want to dedicate this one to them babies for being so patient and staying here with me at home and not complaining too much,” Carey said with a smile. “I love you guys.”
The special also included appearances from Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato, Dave Grohl, Billie Joe Armstrong, Lizzo, Sam Smith and several others.
The iHeart Living Room Concert for America follows on the heels of dozens of stars who have taken to the internet to perform for fans via live video and social media after having to cancel or postpone concerts and shows due to the growing coronavirus outbreak.
Check out the video below for a look at how singers have been staying connected with their fans during these trying times.
Chris Martin, Keith Urban, Pink and More Stream Live Amid Coronavirus Quarantine
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