Legends like Carlos Santana joined rising stars Adrienne Warren and Khalid at the mogul's annual bash, held this year amid Recording Academy controversy: "Tonight we come together to celebrate music."
Multiple standing ovations were the order of the evening at the Pre-Grammy Gala on Jan. 25.
The annual event at the Beverly Hilton, hosted by Clive Davis and the Recording Academy, got off to a riveting start with a cold open by Beck, whose medley included Loser and Where It's At. Brandi Carlile — whose cover of Joni Mitchell's A Case of You was rewarded by a blown kiss from the icon — also partnered with Cyndi Lauper for a rendition of Girls Just Want to Have Fun. For most of the night, the controversy ignited by the Recording Academy's ouster of CEO Deborah Dugan went unacknowledged, save for Davis' remark that "this is clearly a very tumultuous time for the Academy, but tonight we come together to celebrate music."
Other performers included Santana with Ryan Tedder, Miguel and Wyclef Jean; John Legend; and double Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo soaring through a two-song tribute to attendee Janet Jackson. Beyoncé and Jay-Z were in the audience, and Nancy Pelosi held court at a table with Michael Douglas and Billy Porter. Motown's legacy was represented by tablemates Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson. And huddled in conversation were Quincy Jones, Sherry Lansing and Lou Adler.
Closing out the evening, Salute to Industry Icons honoree Sean "Diddy" Combs could have won an award for longest acceptance speech. His often humorous 40-minute thank you was equally passionate and hard-hitting as he closed by taking the troubled Academy to task for its lack of diversity and transparency — "Truth be told, hip-hop has never been respected by the Grammys," he said — eliciting cheers and applause.
Before the Jan. 25 gala, Davis and 15 music stars sat for an exclusive group photo for The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard at the Beverly Hilton. Click the image below to see a larger version.
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