The Kennedy Center Honors, an event celebrating individuals and their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts, will air Tuesday, December 30 at 9:00PM ET/PT on CBS.

Set on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage, some of the biggest performers in this country will take the stage to pay tribute to singer Al Green, actor and filmmaker Tom Hanks, ballerina Patricia McBride, singer-songwriter Sting, and comedienne Lily Tomlin.

But before getting too carried away with this year’s tributes and performances, let’s take a look back at the best Kennedy Center Honors’ performances from the past.


“The Way We Were” (Barbara Streisand Tribute) – Beyonce (2008)

It’s almost impossible to find a performance Beyonce doesn’t do amazingly.  This one is no exception.  Beyonce’s voice is natural, strong, and best of all, it conveys the message of one of Barbara Streisand’s classic hits.


“Hello Goodbye” (Paul McCartney Tribute) – No Doubt (2010)

No Doubt doesn’t immediately come to mind when thinking of Paul McCartney’s “Hello Goodbye,” but the rock band does a great job at putting their own fun style on the hit song.


Yo-Yo Ma Tribute – Stephen Colbert (2011)

Yet again, this was another pairing that seems odd at first, yet Stephen Colbert is delightfully entertaining and funny when talking about the famous cellist.


David Letterman Tribute – Jimmy Kimmel (2012)

From one late-night talk show juggernaut to another, Jimmy Kimmel’s tribute to David Letterman overflows with comedy, sentiment, and history.


“Hope for the Best” (Mel Brooks Tribute) – Harry Conick, Jr. & Friends (2009)

A performance worthy of a Broadway stage, Mel Brooks’ tribute includes notable friends that remind us why we love the comedy legend.



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