At the 48th Grammy Awards, held on February 8, 2006, Carey was nominated for eight awards—the most she had ever received in one night. That night, Carey returned to the Grammy stage for the first time since 1996. Her performance opened with a pre-taped video in which she discussed the importance of God and religion in her life. Carey then came to the stage, dressed in a white Chanel gown, and sang a shortened version of “We Belong Together”. Next, Carey’s pastor Clarence Keaton read a Bible passage to open Carey’s performance of “Fly Like a Bird”, as he did in the studio recording of the song. Midway through the song, a black temporary wall was removed, revealing a large choir who joined Carey for the song’s gospel climax. The performance earned the night’s only standing ovation*, prompting Teri Hatcher, who was presenting the next award, to exclaim, “It’s like we’ve all just been saved!” Carey’s performance earned rave reviews from critics.
*Other peformers that night included Madonna, Paul McCartney, Kanye West, and U2.