Traveling Back with Katelyn Ohashi’s Iconic Playlist

Here’s a look back at the songs that helped earn Ohashi a perfect 10

Katelyn Ohashi Belatina
Photo Credit @katelyn_ohashi IG

By now, we’ve all seen Katelyn Ohashi’s epic and joy-filled routine, performed to an irresistibly danceable Michael Jackson-inspired medley of hits from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Her playlist featured several songs from every member of the Jackson family — as well as legends like Prince, Tina Turner, and Earth, Wind & Fire — keeping her fired up all the way through what has become a performance of a lifetime.

Here’s a look back at the songs that helped earn Ohashi a perfect 10:

Tina Turner, “Proud Mary”

Tina and Ike Turner won a Grammy Award for their cover of John Fogerty’s “Proud Mary,” only a couple years after Creedence Clearwater Revival first released the song in 1969. Both versions made it into the top five on the Billboard charts, but the Turners turned integrated funk, rock, and even gospel into their interpretation of the song. “When I engineered and mixed Ike and Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary” in ’70, they were already performing it on the road,” said producer Brent Maher in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “I had never seen or felt intensity like that on stage.”

Earth, Wind & Fire, “September”

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Rest in peace, Maurice White. 🌎🌬🔥

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When songwriter Allee Willis were in the process of completing what would become one of the most resilient hits ever recorded — it debuted on Billboard’s Digital Song Sales charts last fall at No. 26 — she had reservations over their “ba-dee-ya” refrain and decided to bring her concerns up to band lead Maurice White. “I just said, ‘What the f*** does ‘ba-dee-ya’ mean?’ And he essentially said, ‘Who the f*** cares?'”

Clearly, White was right. Last September, the band simply tweeted “Do you remember?” Nearly half a million respondents said, “Yes.”

Prince, “Kiss”

He won the Grammy for his song “Kiss” in 1986, and that’s where Prince wanted the recording of the song to stay. In 2013, he publicly excoriated Maroon 5 for including a cover of “Kiss” on their Overexposed LP, basically calling them out on artistic stagnation. “Why do we need to hear another cover of a song someone else did? Art is about building a new foundation, not just laying something on top of what’s already there.”

The Jackson 5, “I Want You Back”

The Jackson 5’s first hit song, “I Want You Back,” launched this family quintet to fame in 1969. At the time, they were “just kids having fun,” shared Marlon Jackson, the youngest of the five, in an interview with the Guardian. “When you’re 11 years old, you don’t think about [fame], or how this song is going to save someone’s life years from now, or get someone’s family back together.”

His older brother Tito explained that at first they had to sneak around to play music. “We weren’t allowed to touch our father’s guitar when he went to work. Of course I did – my mum would let us play – and he found out, because I’d broken a string.”

Janet Jackson, “Rhythm Nation”

In a contemporary review of Janet’s album Rhythm Nation 1814, Pitchfork’s editor emphasized the groundbreaking artistry and politics of her work, giving it a 9.0 rating. “Jackson explicitly laid out her own vision of a global anti-racist utopia, while actually creating such a space within an album that had no genre or topical boundaries.”

Michael Jackson, “The Way You Make Me Feel”

Michael and his sis Janet put out music videos with killer choreography that earned them nominations at the 1988 MTV Video Music Awards; in fact, Michael had two videos in in the running, “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Bad.” Janet’s video “The Pleasure Principle” edged him out for the win, though.

Check out Normani’s tribute to Janet at last year’s BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards. She resurrected the entire choreography of “The Pleasure Principle” music video to a freaking T.

Michael Jackson, “Thriller”

There’s not much left to say about Thriller that hasn’t been said before, so we recommend you simply watch this clip of the Obamas dancing along to the song with their best zombie moves at a 2016 White House Halloween party, only one week before Donald J. Trump was elected President.

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