John Legends prepares for his Oscars performance at the Dolby Theater during an action-packed Oscars rehearsals Friday afternoon

By Elizabeth Leonard
February 24, 2017 07:47 PM
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“Hellllo dancers!” said John Legend, from onstage at the Dolby Theatre during an action-packed Oscars rehearsals Friday afternoon.

Waving cheerfully to the assembled dancers from his seat at a Steinway on center stage, the Oscar-winning singer-songwriter gamely launched into the La La Land medley he’ll perform at Sunday’s 89th Academy Awards ceremony.

Dressed casually in all black, Legend powered through pieces of “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” and “City of Stars” from the La La Land soundtrack as dancers moved gracefully about the stage. In a dazzling moment of choreography, a couple, affixed to wires, soared overhead, dancing against a floor-to-ceiling backdrop of sparkling stars.

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Watch the PEOPLE & EW Red Carpet Live Oscars pre-show on Feb. 26 at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT on the People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to PEOPLE.com/PEN, or download the app on your favorite device. Then watch our Red Carpet Fashion Wrap-Up after the Oscars!

“I forgot that chord!” said Legend at one point during rehearsal after an imperceptible fumble, before briefly conferring with La La Land composer Justin Hurwitz at the piano. (Legend went on to repeatedly nail it.)

Once Legend finished up rehearsal, there was applause from the few dozen onlookers in the theater and the 2014 Oscar winner smiled. “Thank you!” said Legend, before heading out.

The Academy Awards kicks off live on ABC on Sunday, Feb. 26, with a 7 p.m. ET pre-show and 8:30 p.m. ceremony. See all the Oscar nominees and get your own ballot here!