Cher brought down the house with her performances of “Believe” and “If I Could Turn Back Time” during the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday – though the legendary singer had no need to look to the past as she was in fine form in the present. Her performances preceded her acceptance of the prestigious Icon Award.
The septuagenarian pranced across the stage in a sheer, spangly bikini for “Believe” and her vintage thigh-high boots and lion’s mane wig for “If I Could turn Back Time” – looking enviably svelte for any age. Cher reflected on her decades-spanning career in a speech that balanced humor, charm, and grace. “I’ve been doing it for 53 years. This is not an applause thing. I’m 71 yesterday,” the singer said as the audience cheered. “Yes. And I can do a five-minute plank, just saying.”
She also thanked her mom, who told her “You’re gonna be special,” and gave a shout-out to her late former-husband and musical partner, Sonny Bono, whom she said also noted her specialness. “And really there was nothing about me that said I was going to be special,” she demurred. She also mentioned working with Phil Spector for a year for $25 and her work with the Wrecking Crew. She continued her humble contemplation, adding, “I think it was mostly luck” that brought on her storied, impressive career.
Cher forged a remarkable musical career, spending more than five decades in the pop music spotlight. She earned her first hit in 1965 as a member of the duo Sonny & Cher when “I Got You” went to Number One on the Hot 100. She reached Number One several more times in the 1970s as a solo act and again in 1998 with “Believe,” a dance floor smash that helped popularize the use of autotune. Her most recent album, Closer to the Truth, came out in 2013.
More recently, Cher increased her activism efforts and she is an outspoken critic of President Trump. During a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton last August, Cher described Trump as “a fucking idiot.” “He doesn’t mean, ‘We’re going to make America great again,'” she added. “He means, ‘We’re going to make America straight and white.'”
Following Trump’s victory in November, Cher took part in the Women’s March on Washington. “I want people to know that, as a group, we can change things,” she said to People at the event. “We can make them hear our voice. We can join organizations. We can keep the fight up. We have to keep this fight up. We can’t become complacent.”
Cher has one thing in common with the President: both use Twitter to get their message out. “TRUMP ISNT READY 4WHATS COMING,” Cher wrote earlier this week. “TRUMP’S REALITY SHOW HOST, WITH NO UNDERSTANDING OF REALITY… PENCE, RYAN, SESSIONS & ENTIRE GOP R GUILTY.”