Clive Davis Gala Full Of A-List Youngsters, Old School Icons
Davis even claimed his event at the Beverly Hilton Hotel would be “off the hook!” when he spoke onstage.
The gala, which serves as a pre-party for Sunday’s Grammy Awards, also featured performances by John Legend, Pharrell, Iggy Azalea, Johnny Mathis and Carole King. Attendees included Barry Manilow, Al Gore, Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock, Jane Fonda, Nancy Pelosi, Melissa Rivers and Miley Cyrus.
Here are some of Saturday night’s highlights:
While Sam Smith opened Clive Davis’ gala with a memorable performance, the new artist took a backseat to veterans who shined bright.
Carole King earned a standing ovation when she performed “Beautiful” and “You’ve Got a Friend,” full of high energy and impressive vocals. She had one of the night’s top moments, and even jumped up and down in excitement at the end of her performance.
“Thank you so much,” she said. “Love you from the bottom of my heart.”
Surprise performer Johnny Mathis earned cheers as he entered the stage. The 79-year-old singer was soft when he sang “It’s Not for Me to Say,” ‘‘Chances Are” and “Wonderful Wonderful” as women in the crowd turned into little girls.
The night closed with Barry Gibb – the only surviving member of the BeeGees – who sang “To Love Somebody” to loud cheers.
Revamped Boy Band
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles? Not quite.
Robinson was joined by R&B singer Miguel, singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc and former N’Sync bandmate JC Chasez for “My Girl.”
The men traded ad-libs and gave a winning performance of the classic song.
Robinson’s boy band expanded when he passed the microphone to Jamie Foxx, who sat in front of the stage. The actor-singer-comedian hit impressive notes that enticed the crowd.
Foxx kept the momentum up by walking over to Earth, Wind & Fire’s Philip Bailey. He was on fire.
King also passed the microphone around when she sang “You’ve Got a Friend.” John Legend was first up, and he added a soulful edge to the song, while Mary J. Blige brought the gospel flavor.
Celebs Are Fan Girls, Too
When Meghan Trainor performed a soulful duet with Legend, members of the media covering the event weren’t the only was snapping photos with professional cameras – so was Miley Cyrus.
Cyrus took photos of the “All About That Bass” singer as she performed “Like I’m Gonna Lose You.”
Cyrus was also excited as she and Rita Ora sang the lyrics of “You’ve Got a Friend” to one another while King was onstage. Foxx was recording video of King’s performance and India.Arie waved her arms back and forth during the song.
Foxx was also a supporter – along with Tamar Braxton – when Blige performed “Doubt” from her latest album.
Both Awkward And Happy
Pharrell kicked off his set with “Get Lucky,” which instantly got the crowd out of their seats. But after it, a clip of a video played causing an awkward moment.
After a pause, the anxious crowd screamed, “Happy! Happy! Happy!”
“I cannot do that song right now because we’re about to honor the incredible … um,” said Pharrell, seeming to forget Sony/ATV Music Publishing CEO and honoree Martin Bandier’s name.
The crowd screamed “Happy” again and Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow chimed in with: “Pharrell, if you’re happy, we’re happy.”
The song began to play, but stopped. When it started again, it was out of tune and after the performance, Pharrell apologized to the crowd for playing in a high key.
“You guys did so great, but you got to remember I’m a producer so you can’t start switching the keys like that,” Pharrell said, looking to his band. “And if you do, you need to let me know so a cat can land on his feet.”
Another awkward moment came when Magic Johnson introduced Davis at the top of the show. At some moments, Johnson referred to him as Clyde.
Prays For Bobbi Kristina Brown
Johnson held a moment of silence for Bobbi Kristina Brown at the gala held by Davis, who was Whitney Houston’s mentor.
On the red carpet, singers also offered well wishes for the 21-year-old Brown, who was found face down in a bathtub at her home on Jan. 31.
“My heart really goes out to her family,” R&B singer Ciara said. “I’m praying for their strength. I’m praying for their courage. I’m praying for them to have support. I’m praying for a miracle truthfully.”
Davis’ gala is where he introduced Houston to the public years ago. It’s also the same hotel where the icon died.
“You know every time I come to this hotel I always think of Whitney even before that because she kind of set me up to perform onstage,” recalled Toni Braxton. “So I always think of her with her happy spirits, but now it’s a little sad.”