Cher and Two Jonas Brothers Rock Out at Dazzling 30th amfAR Cannes Gala

Which performance received the best reviews at Cannes? Cher managed to conquer this year’s film festival even without appearing on screen.

At 12:30 a.m. in the South of France, decked out in a dazzling sequined purple pantsuit, Cher took the stage at Cannes amfAR, the charity gala devoted to raising money for research for HIV and AIDS. “I thought you guys would be drunk, but obviously you’re not,” Cher said after performing an acoustic rendition of “Walking in Memphis,” the Marc Cohn ballad she covered on her 1995 album “It’s a Man’s World,” that had hundreds of guests cheering her on.

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Three songs later — and one costume change into a black sparkling jacket over couture negligee — Cher had emerged victorious. The crowd at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc would have given her the biggest standing ovation of Cannes, except they never sat during her 15-minute set.

Before belting out her pop hit “Believe,” the 78-year-old Cher talked about how the music industry had given up on her after she turned 50.

“I was dropped by my record company and one day, my manager”—the late Billy Sammeth—”who was my best friend came in and said, ‘You know, my self-esteem is too sewn up in your talent and I don’t need you anymore.’ I was thinking, ‘Fuck me!’ So, then, I was like, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ A man from England”—she was most likely referring to Rob Dickins, the former chairman of Warner Music U.K —”said, ‘I still believe in you, come here! I got a song for you to sing and we’ll see what happens.’ And this is what it was.”

The 30th edition of amfAR Cannes drew a crowd of high bidders and celebrities that included Michelle Yeoh, Magic Johnson, Heidi Klum, Kelly Rowland, Colman Domingo, Paris Jackson, Andie MacDowell, Tommy Hilfiger, Michelle Rodriguez and Maria Bakalova.

Demi Moore, who served as the evening’s host, kicked off the night by reminding the crowd of amfAR’s mission. “This has become the single most important year of the night in the fight against HIV,” she said. “With your help, amfAR Cannes has raised more than a quarter of a billion dollars.”

Moore recalled how she last hosted the black-tie charity dinner in 1997, filling in for one of the pioneering founders of the American Foundation for AIDS Research.

“I happened to be a pinch hitter because the great Elizabeth Taylor personally called me last minute because she couldn’t make it,” Moore said. “Everyone that year was abuzz about a new research breakthrough — a powerful drug cocktail made possible in part by amfAR’s research that stopped people from dying of AIDs almost overnight. And now, a single pill each day allows many people living with HIV to enjoy a long and beautiful, full life.”

Auctioneer Simon du Pury helped drive bids for everything from a seven-night trip to Antarctica (which sold for $243,000) to lunch with Cher ($65,000) to a canvas painting by Kenny Scharf ($650,000). The Duchess of York, Sarah, Ferguson took the stage to introduce a crystal-encrusted portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by artist Chris Levine. “Hello everybody,” Ferguson said. “This was my mother-in-law,” she said as she pointed to the piece, which sold for $514,000.

French fashion editor Carine Roitfeld curated a runway show with 27 dresses from designers under the theme of “fairy tales.” Models walked the runway in frocks that paid homage to Maleficent (from Chanel), Thumbelina (Prada), Rapunzel (Miu Miu), Princess Leia (Louis Vuitton), Belle (Vivienne Westwood), the Queen of Hearts (Loewe) and Tinkerbell (naturally in Versace). The entire collection sold for $541,000.

Nick Jonas performed his banger “Jealous” in a white tuxedo jacket, getting the crowd up on their feet after dinner was served.

“I had the pleasure of playing Frankie Valli in a movie coming out later this year called ‘Jersey Boys,’” Jonas said, before crooning the Valli ballad “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” Then Nick, rocking out on a guitar, was joined by a surprise guest. His brother Joe serenaded Cannes with “Cake by the Ocean” — the smash 2015 pop song from his band DNCE.

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