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A Feisty Miley Cyrus Opens Elton John Tribute with “The Bitch is Back” at Show that Features Ed Sheeran, Chris Martin, SZA and Shawn Mendes

The word from the Theater at Madison Square Garden is that the Elton John Tribute was off the charts good. (The show airs April 10th on CBS.)

Miley Cyrus opened the show with “The Bitch is Back,” and from there it was one hit after another. Highlights included Ed Sheeran singing “Candle in the Wind” (which I told you yesterday will be on Elton’s tribute album), “Rocket Man” from Little Big Town, Alessia Cara took “I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues,” Sam Smith handled “Daniel.”

Elton’s peeps kept the acts to all young people and contemporary stars of now– no old guys. So Kesha sang “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” Sean Mendes let SZA get on her Kiki Dee for a duet on “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,”¬† Miranda Lambert handled “My Father’s Gun,” Chris Martin sang “We All Fall in Love Sometimes,” and John Legend played “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” Lady Gaga, as I reported yesterday, pre-taped “Your Song.”

Of course, reports are that Sir Elton stole his own show with a rousing finale of “Bennie and the Jets,” “Philadelphia Freedom,” “Looking Up,” and “I’m Still Standing.” Lots of well known faces in the audience, by the way, including Anna Kendrick.

I had a lot of reports of a dramatic moment when Neil Patrick Harris read a letter from late AIDS patient Ryan White to Elton with Jon Batiste providing background music. Apparently there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Elton’s friendship with Ryan White was one of the reasons he started his important and groundbreaking AIDS Foundation.

PS I heard tonight that Elton has chosen the musical¬† act for his and David Furnish’s annual EJAF Oscar party following the Academy Awards. It’s Greta van Fleet, the hottest new rock band out there. They “out-Zeppelin” Led Zeppelin, according to my sources. That Oscar party is so much fun and raises so much money for AIDS research. But also, Elton picks absolutely the best new musicians as the featured entertainment. Can’t wait to hear these guys!

What a great season of Elton John. He’d better not retire after all!