WASHINGTON (CNN) — After the sun went down, the stars came out for Michelle Obama’s 50th birthday bash on Saturday night – Beyoncé, John Legend and Stevie Wonder among them.
But even the high-wattage crowd couldn’t outshine the evening’s most memorable moment: President Barack Obama breaking out in the “Dougie” on the dance floor.
Guests said the commander in chief and his wife let their hair down during the late-night dance party, which took up the entire State Floor of the White House – including the gilded East Room, the formal parlors, and the ornate State Dining Room. Guests moved about freely, grabbing snacks, drinks and desserts (but no dinner).
Long rumored to be the evening’s entertainment, Beyoncé performed a special set for the first lady and her guests, who included retired basketball star Magic Johnson and his wife, Cookie, actor Samuel L. Jackson, television chef Rachael Ray, and singers Smokey Robinson, Jennifer Hudson, Gladys Knight and Mary J. Blige.
Also spotted at the hot-ticket event: Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, top Washington chef Jose Andres, fashion designer Michael Kors, tennis legend Billie Jean King and NBC weatherman Al Roker.
Gayle King, the CBS morning show anchor, was among the crowd, though her friend Oprah Winfrey (another Obama friend) wasn’t, because she was attending Saturday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. King said she would try to hold her own on the dance floor but admitted she only had “seventh-grade” level moves.
Michelle Obama – whose birthday fell on Friday – came decked out in red pants and a red shirt, and her two daughters brought friends along to make the event a family affair.
Guests’ attire ran the gamut: Some wore sparkly gold pants, while others showed up in jeans. All were told to wear comfortable shoes for an evening of dancing — and many listened. Many female guests wore fancy sky-high heels and carried in flats to change into later in the evening.
That probably didn’t come as much surprise to followers of the first lady, who’s known for busting out her dance moves on talk shows with Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Fallon, and for encouraging kids to be more active with her Let’s Move program.
“I’m looking forward to hearing old school music,” Jackson said on the way in along with Johnson.
“I’m definitely dancing,” former Lakers star Johnson said. “I’m gonna have a good time. I’m gonna have a ball.”
Johnson wasn’t alone, it seemed. Guests leaving the party around midnight said the evening’s highlight wasn’t the superstar performances or the lavish setting – it was the President, cutting loose with the “Dougie” on the dance floor.
Guests also said Obama delivered an emotional tribute to his wife on her milestone birthday.
“He raised the bar for all of us. I don’t know how we’ll live up to it,” singer James Taylor said on his way out.
The invitation from the White House warned guests about photography, and no cameras were allowed – but musician Herbie Hancock said the president’s remarks were a highlight of the night.
“It was really beautiful and really touching,” he said. “He said something – his voice almost cracked like he was crying. It was just beautiful, a husband speaking about his wife.”
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