Kicking off Riley's performance, actor Lil Rel Howery, who guest-hosted the episode, stated, "But on a sad note, not too long ago, we both lost a really amazing friend in a tragic accident and we both will miss her forever and I really want to thank this show for letting us do this, and she's here to perform a tribute to our good friend Naya Rivera."
Rivera, who died in July at age 33 after drowning in a Southern California lake during a boating trip with her son, starred alongside Riley on the hit musical television series Glee.
Following Rivera's death, Riley posted on Instagram, writing: "My favorite duet partner. I love you. I miss you. I don’t have words right now, just lots of feelings. Rest In Peace Angel, and know that your family will never have to worry about anything."
On Thursday, Riley's moving performance of "A Moment" didn't go unnoticed. Viewers took to Twitter praising Riley and even had some in tears:
AMBER RILEY gracefully performed a beautiful tribute to our late naya rivera. felt like i cried a million times. we miss you so much. thank you thank you amber for blessing us with your angelic voice ✨✨ pic.twitter.com/TxrIXnYLME— lynn ミ☆ (@plspressme) August 28, 2020
it was beautiful. Right when the first picture appeared I couldn’t contain myself. @MsAmberPRiley your voice gave me chills and peace. Your courage is greatly admired. Naya would be so proud. For you they’ll be no more crying. Just love ❤️, I love you. #RILEYonKimmel pic.twitter.com/I2R3lPZ7W8— ミ☆ 🏃🏻♀️ (@miche11_) August 28, 2020
When she turned and faced the picture of naya I lost it, the tears flew. Rip beautiful angel.— Alexis 🍂 folklore (@TallestTiptoe) August 28, 2020
I haven’t stopped crying since watching Amber Riley perform her tribute for Naya Rivera. I knew it would break me, I just didn’t realize how much.— slimxoshadytilweoverdose (@BadXMeetsOEvil) August 28, 2020
And following her performance, Riley herself took to Twitter to express her own emotions.
I didn’t make it 15 seconds before I was a puddle. I love you Naya. RIP Angel 💜💕— Amber Patrice Riley (@MsAmberPRiley) August 28, 2020
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