Swift reassured the crowd by performing King’s song “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” in a lace black bodysuit that matched the formal tone of the evening.
After the first few bars, the “Cardigan” singer looked at the crowd with a sly smile and briefly pulled her tongue out between her teeth to drop them in surprise.
The best part was when the camera moved to King in the audience and showed her wiping away tears and quietly directing her gratitude to the star who wrote the songs on stage.
“I want to thank Taylor – thank you for this wonderful show. And also, thank you for carrying the torch forward,” King said during her introductory speech.
“I can’t believe this award was given to me by Carole King,” Swift said at the takeover. “My parents are here tonight and would listen to all your records in high school.”
Jennifer Hudson also honored King with her own rendition of the song “Natural Woman” at a ceremony written by King but celebrated by Aretha Franklin.