Elton John Honored With Tribute From Demi Lovato, Brandi Carlile & H.E.R. at iHeartRadio Music Awards

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Demi LovatoBrandi Carlile and H.E.R. delivered one incredible tribute to Elton John. The stars came together to honor John at the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards on Thursday night. 

The group's performance encompassed some of John's greatest hits. H.E.R. belted out "Benny and the Jets," before transitioning to Carlile's cover of "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." Then Lovato wrapping things up with "I'm Still Standing." 

With that, Chris Martin and Lil Nas X presented John with the iHeartRadio Icon Award. 

"Elton is just one of the sweetest, kindest, most talented, most generous, most groundbreaking, most sexy people of all time," Martin told the crowd. "And I'm so grateful that I got to meet him in this lifetime, and we're all grateful that we're here with you." 

Taking the stage, John thanked iHeartRadio for the award, Lovato, Carlile and H.E.R. for their musical tribute, and Lil Nas X and Martin for presenting him with the honor.

"It's very touching, and I'm very humbled, because when I first came to Los Angeles in 1970, radio was so important," he said. "I'd never heard radio in America before, because I'd never been here before, but it was just incredible to me. In England, we had one station. Over here, you had music coming out of the radio in all sorts of formats, all sorts of styles."

"But I have to say, radio is such an important thing to all of us. That's where you hear things, that's where you discover things, that's why I like doing a radio show, that's why being played on the radio for the first time, when you sit there and you hear yourself and you're so excited -- and it's, for me what this award means, is that I still covet new artists," he continued, noting "that's what my life's about now." 

As John stated, young artists need the exposure. "I've had my time, as they say. I'm still glad people play my records, and I love it," he shared. "I just want to say a special thanks to Lil Nas X because... he is a wonderful artist and has balls of steel!" 

"It's so wonderful to see live people, as Chris said," John concluded. "It's been a bleak year. ... Thank you for all your loyalty and love." 

With one diamond, 38 platinum or multi-platinum, and 26 gold albums, as well as over 50 Top 40 hits, John is one of the top-selling solo artists of all time. He has sold more than 300 million records worldwide and holds the record for the biggest-selling single of all time, "Candle in the Wind 1997." 

In addition to his contributions to music, John has established one of the leading non-profit HIV/AIDS organizations, the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Past honorees of the iHeartRadio Icon Award include Bon Jovi.

While speaking with ET's Lauren Zima ahead of the show, Carlile said John's work with the Elton John AIDS Foundation is one of the reasons she admires him so much. 

"I mean, I fell in love with Elton John in a 5th grade book report, literally a ballad was about HIV and AIDS research and education," she shared. "I remember being young enough to know that if I ever did get a shot at having this job, that it would have to be build on a platform of activism, so that is probably the most important thing about Elton John. To me and to the world." 

As for how John has influenced her music, Carlile said, "I don't think there's any song that I've ever written or any performance I've ever done where the influence of Elton John and Bernie Topin had on me isn't completely obvious." 

And in case you were curious, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" is the singer's go-to karaoke song. 

Hosted by Usher, this year's iHeartRadio Music Awards lined up a slew of performers including The Weeknd with special guest Ariana Grande, Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak (Silk Sonic), Dan + Shay, Doja Cat and more. Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, Roddy Ricch, Twenty One Pilots, Megan Thee Stallion and more artists were also announced to appear on the awards show.

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