Kennedy Center Honors 2021 Performers & Presenters Tonight


Gloria Estefan hosted the star-studded forty third Annual Kennedy Center Honors, which is ready to rejoice the work of Debbie Allen, Joan Baez, Garth Brooks, Midori and Dick Van Dyke throughout its June 6 broadcast on CBS.

“Hi everybody. I can not consider it has been virtually 4 years that I obtained the distinguished Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C. and proper after that I acquired the unimaginable honor of internet hosting the awards which I shall be doing once more,” Estefan, a 2017 recipient of the dignity, said in a May 2021 announcement. She beforehand hosted the Kennedy Center Honors in 2018.

Though, this yr’s broadcast proved to be fairly completely different after filming was pushed from December 2020 to May 2021. To accommodate new security measures, the celebration occurred all through the Kennedy Center’s campus, that includes “small, in-person occasions and re-envisioned digital tributes,” explains the theater’s website.

“After the difficult occasions of the previous yr, who higher to convey us all collectively, assist us take a collective deep breath, and rejoice the superb artistry of our celebrity slate of Kennedy Center Honorees than Gloria Estefan,” mentioned CBS Entertainment Executive, Jack Sussman, in a press release.

Here are the opposite presenters and performers shocking the honorees:

Debbie Allen

Fans of Grey’s Anatomy will acknowledge Debbie Allen as Catherine Avery, however the Kennedy Center Honoree has many different accolades to her identify. According to a recent CBS press release, she can also be an “Emmy Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated actress, dancer, choreographer, singer-songwriter, director and producer.”

To rejoice her legacy are presenters Paula Abdul, Tracee Ellis Ross, Shonda Rhimes and sister, Phylicia Rashad. The performers included:

  • Ariana DeBose performing “I’m a Brass Band,” “Something Better Than This,” and “Fame”
  • Anika Noni Rose performing “Out Here On My Own,” and “Fame”
  • Vanessa Hudgens performing “Fame”
  • Vivian Nixon performing “I’m a Brass Band,” “Something Better Than This,” and “Fame”
  • Tiler Peck performing “Out Here On My Own” and “Fame”
  • Desmond Richardson performing “Out Here On My Own” and “Fame”
  • Debbie Allen Dance Academy

Joan Baez

Another honoree is Joan Baez, a “Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and a number of Grammy Award-nominated singer, songwriter, musician and activist,” in accordance with a CBS press launch. This will not be her first time on the occasion, participating in Pete Seeger’s 1994 tribute.

To honor her legacy, Jackson Browne, Phoebe Bridgers and Tom Morello served as presenters. The performers included:

  • Sturgill Simpson performing “House of the Rising Sun”
  • Rhiannon Giddens performing “Silver Dagger” with Dirk Powell
  • Emmylou Harris performing “Diamond & Rust,” “God is God” and “We Shall Overcome”
  • Mary Chapin Carpenter performing “Diamond & Rust,” “God is God” and “We Shall Overcome”

Garth Brooks

It is Garth Brooks’ flip to be honored by the Kennedy Center after performing on the award ceremonies for James Taylor, Billy Joel and Loretta Lynn. He is described in a CBS press launch as a “a number of Grammy Award, ACM Award and CMA Award-winning nation music entertainer.”

To mark the event, Jason Aldean, Bradley Cooper, John Travolta and Wayne Gretzky served as presenters. The performers included:

  • Kelly Clarkson performing “The Dance”
  • James Taylor performing “The River”
  • Gladys Knight performing “We Shall Be Free”
  • Jimmie Allen performing “The Thunder Rolls” and “Friends in Low Places”

Dick Van Dyke

Legendary actor, identified for enjoying Bert in Mary Poppins, Dick Van Dyke has been named a 2020 recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor. According to CBS, he’s an “Emmy Award, Grammy Award and Tony Award-winning actor, comic, author, singer and dancer.”

Bryan Cranston, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Chita Rivera, Steve Martin and Mary Poppins herself, Julie Andrews, stunned him as presenters. The performers included:

  • Derek Hough performing “Step in Time” and “Put On a Happy Face”
  • Laura Osnes performing “Step in Time,” “Put On a Happy Face” and “Jolly Holiday”
  • Aaron Tveit performing “Step in Time” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”
  • Pentatonix performing “Step in Time” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”


Grammy Award-winning violinist Midori rounds out the forty third Kennedy Center Honors recipients. In 1987, she partook within the ceremony to rejoice honoree Nathan Milstein.

The presenters for her tribute have been Gustavo Dudamel, John Lithgow and Bette Midler. The performers included:

  • Yo-Yo Ma performing J.S. Bach’s “Prelude from Cello Suite No. 1”
  • Gil Shaham performing “Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor, II. Largo”
  • Adele Anthony performing J.S. Bach’s “Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor, II. Largo”
  • Hilary Hahn performing Bernstein’s “Serenade (after Plato’s ‘Symposium’) III: Eryximachus”
  • Randall Goosby performing Paganini’s “Caprice No. 24,” “The Body Electric”
  • Midori’s Orchestra Residencies Program

The forty third Annual Kennedy Center Honors will air on CBS and Paramount+ at 8 p.m. Eastern.

John Smith
John Smith
John Smith is a passionate writer and entertainment enthusiast. With a deep love for TV shows and movies, he delves into the world of storytelling, exploring the captivating narratives and dissecting the cliffhanger endings that leave us wanting more. Through his articles on Flick Prime, John aims to provide insightful analyses, intriguing theories, and engaging discussions surrounding the latest TV shows and movies. Join him on the journey as he unravels the mysteries and secrets of your favorite on-screen adventures.


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