Perhaps this August’s VMAs fell too near the demise of Aretha Franklin. Maybe they couldn’t pull collectively the powerhouse collective wanted to offer the late legend her due. Maybe Madonna’s story about singing an Aretha tune and never even really getting the job she needed wasn’t that dangerous in any case. (Oh no, we checked. What’s the other of ‘nonetheless holds up’?) Or possibly they’d simply seen Aretha Franklin’s funeral and knew they needed to step their sport manner up. Either manner, Tuesday night time’s American Music Awards did their very own Aretha tribute and, nicely, they knocked it out of the park. No, actually. The mixed power of the voices on stage may propel a regulation baseball out of a stadium.

Gladys Knight kicked off the tribute with a rendition of “Amazing Grace,” and was later joined by Ledisi, Donnie McClurkin, CeCe Winans, Erica Atkins Campbell, Tina Atkins Campbell and a number of different unbelievable singers in a swelling gospel efficiency, itself an homage to Franklin’s 1972 dwell album Amazing Grace. Behind them, a half century of Aretha portraits slide by. Concluded host Tracee Ellis Ross after the show-stopping (and show-ending) quantity, “We love you, Aretha.”


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