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Adam Lambert's stunning rendition of 'Believe' brought Cher to tears

The "American Idol" alum stole the show at the 41st Annual Kennedy Center Honors and earned the ultimate honor — from Cher herself.
Adam Lambert
Cher gave Adam Lambert a standing ovation after his stripped-down performance of \"Believe.\"CBS via Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

What could be better than performing a legendary singer's biggest hit and earning a standing ovation from the singer herself?

Performing it so beautifully that it brings that icon to tears.

That's what Adam Lambert learned when he took the stage at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C., and showed Cher his incredible interpretation of "Believe."

The 36-year-old's take on the 1998 multiplatinum hit strayed in style from Cher's dance-pop track. Gone were the famed Auto-Tune-enhanced vocals, fast beat and big-production sound, and in their place was a slowed-down and stripped-down ballad.

The star-studded crowd that gathered for the 41st annual event, which took place weeks ago but wasn't broadcast until Wednesday night, stared at the stage in awe, with many mouthing the words along with Lambert and others gasping at his passionate performance.

But it was Cher's reaction that topped them all.

Cher tears up at Adam Lambert's version of "Believe" at Kennedy Center Honors
Cher couldn't contain her emotions as Adam Lambert belted out a beautiful ballad version of her hit "Believe."YouTube

As Lambert belted out a pitch-perfect glory note, the camera turned to the 72-year-old, who was watching it all from her balcony seat and whose emotional response was the biggest compliment she could possibly pay the singer.

Cher wiped away tears from both eyes, and when the song came to a close — while the final piano note was still resonating — she was the first one on her feet to enthusiastically applaud Lambert's effort.

After it aired, Cher took to Twitter to attempt to capture how that showstopper affected her at the time.

"Tried 2 write Feelings About Adam Lambert Singing Believe in Words, but Cant seem 2," she explained, adding that it "overwhelmed" her senses and left her only able to feel with her heart.

Lambert responded, telling her it was "a total honor" and that Cher is "a goddess!"

And if anyone needs a reminder of the original version, just check out the classic music video from the goddess herself.