Janelle Monae opens 2020 Oscars with sweet Mister Rogers tribute, energetic medley

Image: Janelle Monae
Janelle Monae performs onstage at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)Chris Pizzello / AP

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/ Source: TODAY
By Alexander Kacala

Janelle Monae opened the 2020 Oscars with an energetic musical number that paid homage to Mister Rogers.

Monae entered in her classic black tuxedo look, but changed out of the jacket and opted for a cardigan instead, making a sweet nod to Mister Rogers on a set designed to look like his living room.

Janelle Monae performs during the Oscars show at the 92nd Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 9, 2020. REUTERS/Mario AnzuoniMARIO ANZUONI / Reuters

She then went into a stirring rendition of "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"

During her cover, she stepped into the audience and gave her top hat to Tom Hanks, who just played the children's television host in the film "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood."

The internet seemed to love the homage.

"JANELLE AS MR ROGERS MY SOUL JUST LEFT MY BODY," wrote one person on Twitter.

"I would totally watch a Janelle Monae reboot of Mr. Rogers," added another.

Monae then went into a performance of her 2018 track "Come Alive," changing many of the lyrics with nods to Oscar-nominated films.

At one point, Billy Porter joined her, performing a snippet of Elton John's "I'm Still Standing."

Near the end, Monae addressed the audience with a powerful statement.

"I'm so proud to stand here as a Black, queer artist telling stories, she said. "Happy Black History Month."

The whole energetic opening seemed to delight members in the audience and at home.

"That was the best #Oscars opening I've seen. @JanelleMonae killin' it."