Lions, Flying Monkeys, and Cirque du Soleil? Oh my! The Wiz Live!'s story may start off with a rough storm, but Thursday night's show on NBC was the opposite of that.
Amazing performances by Amber Riley, Mary J. Blige, Uzo Aduba, Queen Latifah, Elijah Kelley, Ne-Yo, David Alan Grier, and newcomer Shanice Williams brought the musical to life and dominated Twitter for its nearly three-hour run. Although the show was updated for a 2015 audience, and including a brand-new song written by Ne-Yo, that same wonderful message that home is where the love is came through in bright, shining colors. See our favorite moments below!
1. Amber Riley Brings the Laughs as Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North
Riley started the show off with a bang, from rocking a bold blue hairdo to going from crying to laughing in 90 seconds flat and using an iPad (can we say updated retelling?) in order to guess Dorothy's name. And that was all before she broke into song. Watch her perform "He's The Wiz" here:
2. Newcomer Shanice Williams Makes Her TV Debut
Although this was 18-year-old Williams's first television performance, you'd never know it. She held her own against some superstars and proved from her first song as Dorothy that she had the pipes to pull off a role made famous by Stephanie Mills, who played Auntie Em in The Wiz Live!, on Broadway and Diana Ross in the film version. A star is born! Watch her perform "Home" here:
3. David Alan Grier Pounces onto the Scene as The Cowardly Lion
Not to detract from the great Ne-Yo as the Tin Man or Elijah Kelley's Scarecrow, but it was hard to take your eyes off Grier's Cowardly Lion. First of all, he somehow managed to dance in a huge, heavy costume and showed off incredible moves— especially when he tamed those poppies! And while he added a healthy dose of comic relief, he got us to tear up during "Be a Lion." And when Dorothy finally got her three new friends together for "Ease on Down the Road," they were unstoppable:
4. Mary J. Blige's Evillene, the Wicked Witch Arrives
She may not have been covered in green, but Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West was still terrifying—and, oh, did Blige's cackling voice ring true! She had us shaking in our boots, but also brought down the house with her performance of "No Bad News":
5. Uzo Aduba Floats Down from the Clouds as Glinda the Good Witch
In a stunning, effervescent gold dress Aduba looked truly magical as she came down from the sky with a Cirque du Soleil dancer on each side to informed Dorothy that she could have gone home at any time. She nailed the tune "Believe In Yourself" as she informed Dorothy "the magic is inside you."