“The 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors” will be televised Tuesday, Dec. 26, and one of our biggest country stars will be onstage to sing for one of the honorees.

Luke Bryan first worked with music icon Lionel Richie a few years back when he performed Lionel’s pop hit, “Running with the Night,” during the 2012 CBS special, “Lionel Richie and Friends in Concert.”

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The guys got together again in December 2016 when Lionel joined Luke onstage in Las Vegas for a duet on the Commodores hit, “Oh No.”

Luke introduced Lionel then as one of his top two musical heroes.

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Of course, Lionel and Luke are going to be sitting together at the judges’ table alongside Katy Perry for ABC’s reboot of “American Idol” beginning in March 2018.

Given all that history, it makes sense that Luke is one of the artists performing as Lionel is recognized at the “Kennedy Center Honors.” The country star is flattered just to be asked to appear on this prestigious show.

Luke says, “One of the biggest honors in our society, I’ve always felt like, have been the ‘Kennedy Center Honors.’ I’ve watched that show for years and when you look at the people in the past that have been honored, it’s people that have done so much for the arts and culture and music and songs.”

Luke thinks his pal Lionel definitely fits the criteria to receive recognition at the “Kennedy Center Honors.”

He explains, “Nobody, in my opinion, is more deserving than Lionel when you look at his whole body of work as a singer-songwriter, as a band member, as an individual artist and what he was able to do with charitable stuff through his years. I mean Lionel has always been himself, and he embodies certainly what the ‘Kennedy Center Honors’ is looking for. And the fact that I can stand there on that stage and sing songs from my childhood and my life to one of my heroes in that setting is something I will never forget.”

Seriously, Luke considers it a career milestone to perform for Lionel as he’s recognized alongside fellow “Kennedy Center Honors” recipients Gloria Estefan, LL Cool J, TV producer Norman Lear and dancer/choreographer Carmen de Lavallade.

Luke adds, “It’s just going to be an amazingly special moment for me and something that I can look back [on] and go, ‘Wow! How was I in the room on that one?’”

“The 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors” broadcasts at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Dec. 26 on CBS.

Luke Bryan can’t believe he’s been selected to sing for this music icon Getty Images/Rick Diamond
Hunter Kelly is a senior correspondent for Rare Country. Follow him on Twitter @Hunterkelly.
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