The “Elton John: I’m Still Standing — A GRAMMY Salute” tribute concert airs tonight, on April 10, 2018, at 9 p.m. ET/PT and 8 p.m. CT. The TV special, which will honor the five-decade long career of Sir Elton John, is pre-taped and airs on the CBS network. Entertainment elite lined up to pay tribute to John, whether they delivered anecdotes, gave thoughtful readings, or performed some of his hit songs.
According to the show’s executive producer Ken Ehrlich, there was a small worry that John would not sit to watch all the performances that were put on for him during the event, according to Entertainment Weekly, because John is not a fan of watching other people perform his music. Ehrlich revealed that, “He’s really not a fan of watching other people do his songs. He’s just sensitive to it … After the show, he told me he loved who we booked and what they did but he wasn’t sure I could get through it. As it turned out, he loved it.”
For most of his career, John has collaborated with Bernie Taupin for his music, so, naturally, he sat next to Taupin at the concert event. On his other side, sat his husband, David Furnish.
Many of the performers included in tonight’s concert event have worked with John and Taupin in the past. Performer Miranda Lambert dished on her past experience to the LA Times, recalling, “I got to meet Elton and drink martinis with Bernie, who is one of the greatest songwriters of all time. It was such a cool experience. When you meet people who are such geniuses, so iconic and they are so nice and normal, it is so inspiring.” In the tribute special, Lambert is performing the song “My Father’s Gun”.
Miley Cyrus is another performer taking the stage and she is performing “The Bitch Is Back”. In recent months, Cyrus and John teamed up for a performance at the 2018 Grammy Awards. John started off the set, alone at the piano, singing “Tiny Dancer, and he was joined by Cyrus shortly into the performance. According to Bustle, Cyrus and John actually “go way back” and in 2013, John stated on The Ellen Show that, “I’ve known [Miley] for a long time. She’s a big supporter of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, she’s a terrific girl.”
John and Cyrus are each fans of each other. In fact, John publicly praised Cyrus’ controversial VMAs performance with Robin Thicke in the past, as well as her album with the Flaming Lips over the years. According to CBS, Cyrus’ performance was the first in the lineup. Have a look at Cyrus and John’s 2018 Grammys duet in the below video.
When John Legend came aboard to participate in tonight’s Grammy tribute, he had a special song he wanted to perform in mind, but it went to another performer. Executive producer Ken Ehrlich revealed to Entertainment Weekly that Legend wanted to perform “Rocket Man,” but the country group Little Big Town is performing the song instead. Ehrlich explained, “We went back and forth and I kept telling John that ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’ would be amazing for him. Ultimately he listened. When he embraced doing it, I just knew it was going to be amazing.”
Another musician who had a little issue with his performance was Chris Martin from Coldplay. Ehrlich dished to Entertainment Weekly that it took three tries for Martin to get all the way through his song, which is “We All Fall In Love Sometimes.” Ehrlich said that he loves working with Martin and explained, “He’s a perfectionist. I don’t know what to ascribe it too. The strings we had there for him came in at the wrong time at one point. I don’t think he got rattled, but it was so important to him for this to be right for Elton that we stopped and started a couple of times. When you see it on the air, it’s beautiful. It’s the least known song of Elton and Bernie Taupin’s, which to me made it even more touching.”
The other performances included in the star-studded lineup tonight include Ed Sheeran singing “Candle in the Wind”, Sam Smith performing “Daniel, Alessia Cara singing “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues”, Lady Gaga’s execution of “Your Song,” “Border Song” sung by Christopher Jackson with Valerie Simpson, a duet of SZA with Shawn Mendes singing “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” Maren Morris performing “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” and Kesha delivering a rendition of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” Wrapping up the big event, Sir Elton John, himself, will take the stage to deliver three songs – “Bennie and the Jets”, “Philadelphia Freedom”, and “I’m Still Standing.” For his performance of “I’m Still Standing,” John is joined on stage by his fellow performers from the night, including some of the speakers, like Neil Patrick Harris.
To see all the amazing performances and touching moments, tune in tonight on the CBS channel. It all goes down at 9 p.m. ET/PT and 8 p.m. CT.