Kennedy Center Honors Will Fete George Clooney, Gladys Knight and U2 at This Year’s Ceremony

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., on Thursday announced the honorees for the 45th Kennedy Center Honors, which are given to recipients to recognize their lifetime artistic achievements.

This year’s honorees include actor George Clooney, singer-songwriter Amy Grant, singer Gladys Knight, the rock band U2, and composer, conductor and educator Tania León. The ceremony will be held Dec. 4 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Typically, the honorees sit in the President’s Box, alongside the President of the United States. President Biden participated in the program last year.

CBS, which has broadcast the Kennedy Center Honors for all 45 years that they have been awarded, will once again televise this year’s event during the 2022-2023 season. It will also stream on Paramount+.

Done + Dusted, the production company behind the Emmy Awards and programs like Disney’s Little Mermaid Live! and Disney Family Sing-Along will produce this year’s Kennedy Center Honors for the first time. Done + Dusted also produces the ceremony for The Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize.

Last year’s honorees included Bette Midler, Lorne Michaels and Berry Gordy.

Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein explained the decision-making behind this year’s honorees in a statement. “Whether saving humanity, masterminding a heist or captaining a ship in dangerous seas, actor George Clooney’s unique brand of earnest charisma and his complete embodiment of a character has led us to root for him every time,” he said. “Multi-platinum singer-songwriter Amy Grant became the first artist to bring contemporary Christian music to the forefront of American culture, then equally thrived after crossing over into mainstream pop with hit after hit, and today is revered as the ‘Queen of Christian Pop.’”

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The statement continued, “In her 55-year music career, legendary singer and America’s beloved ‘Empress of Soul’ Gladys Knight went from the Pips of Georgia to Grammy royalty, showcasing a boundless vocal range and soulfulness that has stood the test of time; a brave, young Cuban refugee-turned-Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and music ambassador, Tania León has blessed America for more than five decades with her astoundingly original compositions and continues to be a major influence on classical music; and one of the most influential rock bands of the modern rock era, U2, won over America and the world long ago with their iconic anthems, potent lyrics and powerful messages of social justice and global citizenship — earning a musical legacy that crosses generations, inspires and unites.”