Cher Performs 'Believe' Duet with Jennifer Hudson as She Receives Icon Award at 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards

It's not hard to "Believe" what a force Cher is in the music industry after all these years, but she's still getting her flowers! At the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards on Monday, the pop icon, 77, was honored with the coveted icon award

Published Time: 02.04.2024 - 05:31:04 Modified Time: 02.04.2024 - 05:31:04

It's not hard to "Believe" what a force Cher is in the music industry after all these years, but she's still getting her flowers!

At the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards on Monday, the pop icon, 77, was honored with the coveted icon award. She also took to the stage at the awards ceremony, held at The Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, for a performance, and also received a special tribute.

Meryl Streep — who starred alongside Cher in the 1984 movie Silkwood — honored her friend with a speech before her musical performance began.

"You know that Cher has had a No. 1 record in every one of the last seven decades She's the only woman in U.S. history to have done that. What does it take to have those kinds of legs, right? We all want to know. It's not 15 minutes of fame anymore. You're lucky to get seven seconds of somebody's fractured attention — never mind seven decades," she told the crowd.

Streep, 74, continued: "It takes a town, but more than that. I think it takes heart. When I think of Cher I think of her giant heart. how open it is, how battered it is and how strong it is and how she leads with her heart and everything she does interacting, singing, dancing or dressing. She just puts it all out there — and it's brought her lots of prestigious awards."

Check out all of PEOPLE's full iHeartRadio Music Awards coverage here.

"But it's also pulled her to work on behalf of our veterans and for LGBTQ rights and many other causes when I first met her 40 years ago, when we made a film about an activist called Karen Silkwood and in the movie really we held onto each other and he rocked on us porch swing in this little house in Sherman, Texas on an October night and I sang her a lullaby but all I could think of as we are going back and back was 'I Got You Babe," she concluded.

After a video tribute to the "Strong Enough" performer, Jennifer Hudson hit the stage and delivered a blistering version of "If I Could Turn Back Time." Cher then appeared onstage and kicked off "Believe" solo until midway when the Dreamgirls star, 42, joined her for a duet.

Following the performance, Cher took to the stage to give a speech.

"First of all, I feel really blessed and lucky with this award, and I feel lucky to have people that have stayed with me for all these years. Most of you weren't born, but a lot of people have," she said.

After telling the audience about her childhood dreams, Cher addressed how her success in music was hard-won.

"I don't usually talk about it, but I have been down and out so many times that you cannot believe," she said. "I've been dropped by my record companies and couldn't get a job and at that time. I we -

nt to Las Vegas, which they called the elephant's graveyard — and I had a huge show, lots of people, bungees, all that and they just said, 'Oh God, she's so over.' But I never gave up my dream and standing on this stage."

She continued: "From my experiences, have a dream, and then don't give it up no matter what happens. Because I know from my own experience that if you have a dream and you stick with it, you will have a wonderful life and it probably will come true. And that's it for me."

According to a press release, the "Strong Enough" singer was selected to be celebrated with this year's icon award due to "her unparalleled contributions to music and pop culture for over seven decades."

Cher joins an impressive roster of past icon award recipients. The honor was presented last year to Pink, and, in the past, A-listers like Bon Jovi, Elton John and Jennifer Lopez have also received the title.

Cher's icon award comes several months after she released her first full-length holiday album, Christmas, which dropped in October of last year.

Following the record's release in fall 2023, the Grammy winner performed songs off of it at a handful of major seasonal events, including the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the annual tree lighting ceremony in New York City's Rockefeller Center and at the Madison Square Garden date of iHeartRadio's Jingle Ball.

The hitmaker ended up making history with the project, as its lead single "DJ Play a Christmas Song" went No. 1 on Billboard's Dance/Electronic Digital Song Sales chart — setting a record as the first female artist to have a top hit for seven decades straight. The "If I Could Turn Back Time" singer and Rolling Stones are the only artists to date who have had at least one song in a peak position on a Billboard chart every decade between the 1960s and 2020s.

The pop legend wasn't the only superstar to receive a special award at this year's iHeartRadio Music Awards.

Beyoncé also received the innovator award in celebration of both her influence on pop culture and the creative risks she's taken over the years to "successfully transform her music," per a press release. The hitmaker, 42, was awarded at the awards show just several days after she released her ninth studio album and first country-music-inspired LP,Act II: Cowboy Carter.

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The iHeartRadio Music Awards are airing live from The Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on April 1 from 8-10 p.m. ET on FOX.

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