Ariana Grande stole the spotlight at the Songwriters Hall of Fame gala on Thursday (14Jun18) when she showed off her new engagement ring during a surprise performance.
The pop star was an unexpected addition to the line-up at the New York City event, where she hit the stage to belt out her new single No Tears Left To Cry, before her Love Me Harder collaborator The Weeknd helped to honour their Universal Music Group boss Sir Lucian Grainge with the Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award.
Ariana attended the ceremony with her new fiance, comedian Pete Davidson, marking their first official public outing since the news of their whirlwind engagement hit headlines on Monday (11Jun18).
There were also performances from singer Fantasia, actor Stephen Dorff, who paid tribute to his musician father Steve Dorff as he joined the Class of 2018, and Mariah Carey and Usher, who saluted rapper/producer Jermaine Dupri as he became only the second hip-hop artist to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, following JAY-Z’s history-making entrance last year (17).
Rocker John Mellencamp, country crooners Alan Jackson and Bill Anderson, The Color Purple musical co-writer Allee Willis, and Kool & The Gang were also celebrated as inductees, with the R&B/soul bandmembers Robert ‘Kool’ Bell, Ronald Bell, George Brown, and James ‘JT’ Taylor coming together for the first time in 25 years to deliver their timeless classic, Celebration.
Meanwhile, Sara Bareilles received the Hal David Starlight Award, presented to young songwriters who have penned inspiring original tracks, and Neil Diamond was recognised with the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award, 34 years after he was made a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
The accolade is the organisation’s highest honour, reserved only for songwriters who have previously been inducted.
Diamond, who recently announced he was retiring as a touring artist after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, closed the event with a rousing rendition of his signature hit, Sweet Caroline.