The Kennedy Center Honors returned to tradition this year.
The lifetime achievement awards for artistic excellence were presented Sunday night in a gala at the Kennedy Center’s main opera house after the coronavirus pandemic forced delays and major changes to last year’s plans.
Honorees included Motown Records creator Berry Gordy, “Saturday Night Live” mastermind Lorne Michaels, actress-singer Bette Midler, opera singer Justino Diaz and singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell.
This year’s event also represents a return to political normalcy, with President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden attending. The Democrat will be the first president to be at the Kennedy Center Honors since 2016.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump skipped the show the first three years he was in office after several of the artists honored in 2017, his first year in office, threatened to boycott a White House reception if the Republican participated.
The Trumps also scrapped a traditional White House ceremony for the honorees, which Biden resumed Sunday afternoon with a lighthearted holiday gathering.