Singer Aretha Franklin's rendition of A Natural Woman moved President Barack Obama to tears during the 38th Annual Kennedy Center Honors, which was broadcast on CBS. The 73-year-old singer wowed the crowd when she walked on stage in a glittering gown, fur coat and sparkling clutch. She immediately took to the piano and sang in a strong powerful voice, deceptive of her age.
Award recipient Carole King, who co-wrote the song, reacted with awe and excitement from the moment Franklin stepped on stage. She spent most of the time during the performance singing along or simply blowing kisses to the veteran musician. At one point, members of the audience turned around to watch King's energetic hand-waving.
Obama, who was accompanied by wife Michelle, also seemed overwhelmed and was spotted wiping his eye even before the first verse was done. He then went on to sing the famous lyrics with most of the audience, who got to their feet as the song progressed.
The star-studded event was held on 6 December but was broadcast on Tuesday (29 December) night. This year's awardees included actress and singer Rita Moreno, filmmaker George Lucas and composer and songwriter King, among others.
During the award ceremony, Lucas the mastermind behind the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, was praised by fellow filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese. "Like Edison and Bell and Tesla and Jobs, George Lucas's Star Wars changed movies absolutely forever," Spielberg said, while Scorsese called him a "born storyteller".
Praising Moreno, actor Lin-Manuel Miranda said: "She takes the stage, she commands attention, she speaks for us and she tells the truth."
Classic rock band The Eagles were also supposed to be a part of the event's entertainment but were forced to postpone their appearance to next year over founding member Glenn Frey's health issues.