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Beyonce Kicks Off Kobe Bryant Memorial With Special Performance of ‘XO’ and ‘Halo’ (Watch)

Beyonce kicked off Monday’s public memorial for Kobe Bryant with an emotional medley of her songs “XO” and “Halo.”

“I’m here because I love Kobe, and this is one of his favorite songs,” she said before launching into a special rendition of “XO.” She was accompanied by singers and a string quartet, and wore a gold pantsuit.

“I want to start that over,” Beyonce continued. “But I want us to do it all together, and I want you to sing it so loud that he hears your love.”

After the performance, the announcer at Staples Center praised Beyonce for “expressing her love [for Bryant] so beautifully.”

The two songs are similar in feel and theme — and indeed, both were cowritten by Beyonce and Onerepublic frontman Ryan Tedder. “XO” is featured on Beyonce’s self-titled 2013 album and was cowritten by the pair with Terius “The-Dream” Nash, while “Halo” comes from her 2009 album “I Am… Sasha Fierce” and was written by Beyonce and Tedder with Evan Bogart. “Halo” peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained on that chart for 30 weeks in 2009. While “XO” was not as big of a radio hit — reaching No. 45 on the Hot 100 — it did well on other charts, reaching Silver status in the U.K. (for 200,000 sales) and No. 12 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart in the U.S.

Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed on Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash.

The ceremony, called “A Celebration of Life,” also featured a performance of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” by Alicia Keys, as well as speeches from Jimmy Kimmel, who emceed the event, Michael Jordan and Vanessa Bryant, among others.

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