The "Confident" songstress, 23, took the stage after John Legend opened the medley with Richie's hit "Easy." Clad in a white blazer and black pants, Lovato transitioned into his classic 1983 tearjerker "Hello."
Starting off the ballad softly, Lovato built as the song progressed, before finally belting the final lyric, "I love you."
The cameras inside of the Staples Center cut to a thrilled Richie, 66, who raised his arms triumphantly in the air, exclaiming, "Yes!" as Lovato sang. An eyewitness inside the venue tells Us Weekly that Super Bowl 50 performer Bruno Mars was seated behind Richie, clapping for Lovato and sharing knowing looks with Richie.
"Whenever Demi would hit a high note, especially when she sang the high 'I love you,' [Mars] was really impressed by her and put both hands in the air," the insider tells Us.
Her rendition was followed up by Luke Bryan, Meghan Trainor and Tyrese, all singing Richie classics including "You Are" and "Brick House," before the man of the hour came on stage to sing, "All Night Long (All Night)."
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