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Elton John Pays Tribute to Liberace in First-Ever Emmy Awards Performance

Lester Cohen/WireImageSunday night, in his first-ever performance at the Emmy Awards, Elton John paid tribute to the late entertainer Liberace, and surprised viewers by not giving an over-the-top, flamboyant performance.

Elton was introduced on the show by Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, the stars of the HBO movie Behind the Candelabra, which detailed the relationship between Liberace and his lover, Scott Thorson.  "This guy played a mean piano," Elton said of Liberace, adding, "His program aired in England and I was keenly aware of his enormous talent, and his impact on the musical world -- and my dress sense, of course!"

"What I was not aware of until years later was his lifestyle," Elton continued, pausing and then added, "Yeah, right."  As the audience laughed, Elton continued, "Which, due to the tenor of the times, had to be concealed." 

Elton then added that his new song, "Home Again," "reminds me of him, because Lee, as he liked to be called, when I met him, always talked about how much he loved going home to his house, so it's a feeling of being at peace and being yourself."

He finished by saying, "Liberace left us 25 years ago and what a difference those years have made to people like me, and people like me," referring to his, and Liberace's, homosexuality.

Then, Elton played "Home Again," and it was a subdued performance of a somber song.  Not only that, but Elton's outfit was incredibly restrained...for him.  He wore a dark blue sequined jacket with "Fantastic" spelled out on the back -- a reference to his nickname, Captain Fantastic" -- and blue-framed, yet regular-sized, glasses.  Fans who'd hoped that Elton would trot out the Liberace-like clothing he used to wear in the '70s -- the feathers, massive glasses and rhinestones -- were left disappointed.

Behind the Candelabra won 11 Emmys Sunday night, including the first Emmy ever for Michael Douglas, who portrayed Liberace.

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