Who's the Bigger Aretha Franklin Fan: Carole King or Barack Obama?

A Newsweek investigation.

Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin dazzled Carole King and Barack Obama with a rendition of "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" at the Kennedy Center Honors, but whom did she dazzle the most? CBS

Aretha Franklin is 73 years old and, as she proved last night, still the best and baddest diva on the planet. At the Kennedy Center Honors, which was taped December 6 but aired Tuesday night on CBS, the soul queen strutted onstage in a full-length fur coat and brought the house down with a jaw-dropping performance of "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." It was incredible. Check it out:

The star here is clearly Aretha, but also going on is a fierce cutaway reaction battle between Carole King, one of the night's honorees, and Barack Obama. Both appeared overwhelmed by Franklin's performance, and CBS couldn't get enough of either celebrity fan whooping it up on the balcony. Let's break it down, shall we?

INITIAL REACTIONS

Carole King
Aretha appears onstage. Newsweek
Carole King
She sits down at the piano. Newsweek
Carole King
She starts playing "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." This could be the greatest moment of King's life. It looks like she's on the verge of tears. But wait a second... Newsweek
Barack Obama
Did Obama ALREADY shed a tear? The Internet sure wants to think so. He could easily be scratching an itch, though...Actually, he's probably just scratching an itch, but for the purposes of this investigation, and because we don't know for sure, we'll go ahead and say Obama was indeed wiping away a stray tear at the sight of Aretha and her luxurious fur coat. King can't drop her jaw far enough to compete with pre-chorus waterworks. Point, Obama. Newsweek

IN-PERFORMANCE REACTIONS

Carole King
King. In disbelief. Newsweek
Barack Obama
Obama. Vibing. Newsweek
Carole King
King. Grateful. Newsweek
Barack Obama
Get it, Barry. Newsweek
Obama and King
Obama fist pumps and delivers an emphatic "Ohhh, yeahhh" nod to Michelle, while King continues to trip balls. In the end, Obama's cool can't stand up to King's effusive, convulsing displays of appreciation. This round goes to her. Also, George Lucas? You're out of your league. Just take a seat. Newsweek

POST-PERFORMANCE REACTIONS

Barack Obama
Solid performance-capping "Woo!" from Obama. Anything less would have been a disappointment. Newsweek
Carole King
King is so overcome she actually grabs George Lucas. Maybe the boldest move of the night, next to Aretha's fur coat. Newsweek

FINAL VERDICT

We respect Obama's low-key style of showing his appreciation, but King is freaking out to an unprecedented degree here...and she grabbed George Lucas. Truly remarkable. She get's the R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Who's the Bigger Aretha Franklin Fan: Carole King or Barack Obama? | Culture