Aretha Franklin may have brought the house down on CBS' broadcast of the 38th annual Kennedy Center Honors last night (December 29), but let's not forget that Sara Bareilles and Janelle Monae expertly prepared the demolition site.

The event, which was filmed on December 6 and honored legendary singer-songwriter Carole King, kicked off with an animated introduction by Beautiful the Musical stars Chilina Kennedy and Scott J. Campbell, who narrated the story of King's early life and her breakthrough in music. The real magic came with the duo's introduction of performers Monae, Bareilles and James Taylor.

In the clip above, Monae kicks off the celebration with electric performances of "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” and “One Fine Day" (jump ahead to 3:21 if you're a little impatient). Taylor then performs "Up on the Roof" while...up on a mock-rendering of a roof (okay!) and at 9:57, the stage unveils Bareilles, who delivers a beautiful, stirring rendition of the classic "You've Got a Friend." The crowd goes absolutely nuts — King, in particular, can't seem to hide her shock at the sight of the Waitress singer. 

"I'm so excited. And I just can't hide it," Bareilles tweeted amid the special's airing, while Monae tweeted directed to King: "U R Queen. So thankful 2share the stage w/ so many class acts. It was a complete honor honoring u. Congratulations! #KCHonors"

Check out the performances above, and tell us what you think!

See a collection of celebs step out sans makeup: