Sunday night’s “VH1 Divas Salute the Troops” show featured performances from Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Paramore, Keri Hilson, Sugarland, Heart and Grace Potter & the Nocturnals — and a surprise tribute to Aretha Franklin, who is recovering from surgery, from the band Sugarland and rapper MC Lyte.
Other highlights from the show, which was hosted by Kathy Griffin and taped primarily in San Diego a week before it aired, included several performances from Perry, who played several of her hits and even teamed up with Nicki Minaj for a cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” Minaj’s outfit may have been a tribute to Lauper: She wore bright orange and blue mini-skirt with aqua tights. On her own, Minaj performed “Moment 4 Life,” “Right Thru Me” and “Roman’s Revenge” from her just-released Pink Friday.
The show’s military theme reached its peak when Perry, Keri Hilson and Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles donned World War II-era military uniforms for a cover of the 1940s hit “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”
Paramore’s performance was taped at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait, and featured the band performing “My Hero” and “The Only Exception.”
Sugarland was joined by veteran female rapper MC Lyte, who teamed up for the group’s “Stuck Like Glue” and then paid tribute to Aretha Franklin with a cover of her 1968 hit “Think.” Last week Franklin underwent surgery for an undisclosed ailment that forced her to cancel all tour dates through May.
“Miss Aretha Franklin, get well soon,” Nettles said. “We need your voice, baby!”
At the end of the show, the troops got a heartfelt tribute from Perry, who performed her recent single “Firework” clad in a glamorous full-length red gown.
“Before I start this next song,” she said, “I just wanna say thank you from the bottom of my heart, wherever you are in the world serving for our country.” She then saluted. “God bless you all, this one goes out to you.”