Saturday’s broadcast began with a six-hour livestream on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, then headed to prime time on ABC, CBS and NBC for two hours. Stars who appeared on the broadcast TV portion of the event included Billie Eilish, Jennifer Lopez, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Oprah Winfrey and Stevie Wonder.
Kesha, Matthew McConaughey and Heidi Klum were among those making appearances in the early hours of the livestream. All took time to thank health professionals who have been working relentlessly to treat Americans with COVID-19.
“If you see a health care worker, you’re gonna want to give them a high-five, but don’t because we don’t want them to get contaminated,” CBS late-night host Stephen Colbert cautioned at one point.
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As of Saturday night, there were nearly 700,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center. There have been more than 31,000 U.S. deaths from COVID-19 so far.
“I miss my fans so much,” Kesha said shortly after the livestream kicked off. “I know that there’s so many people working and not sleeping and sacrificing so much to help figure this out for everyone, and I just think the vulnerability of us all as human beings right now is really showing a really beautiful side to humanity.”
Here are some of the highlights you may have missed from prime time:
‘We love you, we thank you’
Early in the broadcast TV portion of the show, McCartney was quick to join those praising health workers.
“We love you, we thank you,” he said before singing “Lady Madonna” as shots of medical professionals wearing protective equipment cascaded across the screen.
“As this COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis, we’ll need to come together to find a solution,” he said.
ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel joked, “You know the coronavirus is in trouble when the Beatles get involved.” He noted that IBM, a firm his father once worked for, had arranged to donate millions of masks to first responders.
Kimmel later surprised a food delivery worker who brought his dinner with a homemade pizza, a baggie full of “clean” money and a roll of toilet paper.
‘Blinded by the colors’
“It’s gonna be alright,” Kacey Musgraves reassured fans. “Stay strong. Stay inside.”
“I just wanted to say a sincere ‘thank you’ to all the people risking their lives to get people through this,” she said, before singing her hit “Rainbow.” “It means so much to me.”
‘Sesame Street’ checks in
Abby Cadabby, a relatively new but still beloved “Sesame Street” resident popped in to help reassure youngsters — and, let’s be honest, adults, too.
“I know a lot of us have been having some big feelings right now,” she said, before assuring folks that “self hugs” were A-OK in this time when close contact is frowned upon.
“I hold myself really tight, and then I take a deep breath and I feel comforted,” she said.
‘People out there risking everything’
Soccer superstar David Beckham and wife Victoria Adams had the honors of introducing music great Elton John.
“We know there are people out there risking everything to keep us safe,” Beckham said.
John then arrived on screen, playing piano in a lush, green backyard.
“This is for everyone out there who’s been working on the front lines 24/7,” he said, before belting out “I’m Still Standing.”
Reaching a new audience
After watching NBC’s Jimmy Fallon sing Men Without Hats’ “Safety Dance” via Zoom with members of the Roots, Coldplay’s Chris Martin made his “One World: Together at Home” appearance, singing a classic, “Yellow.”
“This is 20 years old now,” he laughed. “It may be older than some of you.”
Consider your mental and emotional well-being
While encouraging social distancing, actress Kerry Washington took a moment to encourage viewers to acknowledge their feelings, rather than hiding them.
“We also need to consider how isolation can affect our mental and emotional well-being,” she said.
Washington then called upon Dr. Sue Varma, a New York psychiatrist, for some advice.
“Many people are feeling fear, anxiety and grief during this crisis,” Varma said. “This is totally normal.
“Everyone needs to make time for the four M’s of mental health: movement, mindfulness, mastery … and meaningful connections.”
Contributing: The Associated Press