Ahead of his debut this Sunday as a judge on ABC’s American Idol, Lionel Richie went to Hollywood, but he didn’t need a golden ticket. Instead, he was honored with a hand and footprint ceremony at the iconic TCL Chinese Theatre.
“I just want to say that this is probably the most out-of-body experience I have ever experienced in my entire life. And I’m so happy to be here, to represent this,” Lionel told the crowd before he plunged his hands and feet into the wet cement. He also recalled his humble beginnings in Alabama.
“Every time I think about where I started, I think about Tuskegee and the motto that my family used to always say to us, the people who were there raising us: ‘Failure is not an option,'” he said. “I didn’t know where I was gonna go with that title, but failure was not an option.”
Samuel L. Jackson and Jimmy Kimmel were among the stars who were there to cheer Lionel on as he plunged his hands and feet into wet cement in front of the theater. Kimmel took a shot at Lionel’s ’80s fashion choices in his speech.
“Lionel had so many hits and so many crazy outfits,” said the late-night talk show host. “And I have to say, it’s hard to imagine how a person can sing about being easy like Sunday morning while he’s wearing a beaded, fringed bolero jacket topped with an Afro the size of a tumbleweed.”
But Kimmel is a big fan of the legendary entertainer.
“I went to my first Lionel Richie concert, my first of many, when I was 16 years old, I was a teenager in Las Vegas,” he recalled. “I couldn’t get a date, so I brought my mom. It was one of the most exciting and saddest experiences of my life.”
As for Jackson, he spoke about the surreal aspect of Lionel participating in a ceremony that’s been going on since the 1920s.
“To end up in a place like this, that we saw on television forever, people on their knees, putting their hands in the cement, writing their names and putting their feet in, is something that is beyond our imagination.”
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