During the Disney Legends Ceremony Friday morning at the fan convention in Anaheim, Calif., Aguilera, who is being honored as a Disney Legend herself, was welcomed to the stage at the beginning of the panel carrying a microphone. As the music began, everyone in the audience realized she was about to sing “Reflection” from Mulan, reprising her iconic 1998 pop version of the Disney song.
Suffice to say the reaction in the room was enthusiastic. She earned that standing ovation.
Check out a video of her surprise performance below:
Aguilera returned to the stage later to give an acceptance speech after being inducted as a Disney Legend, and she screamed with happiness as she approached the podium. “This is way cooler than a Grammy, I just have to say!” she said as the room cheered. “Thank you, Bob Iger. This is tremendous. You don’t understand. I may be the ultimate Disney fan. I don’t know. I know it’s high competition in this room, but…” She broke off in a laugh as the room cheered again.
“Oh my God. I have a speech but I want to throw it out because my God,” she said as the room laughed. “Thank you so much for this amazing honor. I love this. This is so special, I’m like shaking… I’ve been holding back tears all day.”
Then Aguilera got emotional as she reminisced about how Disney inspired her to sing when she was a little girl. “When I first saw the Sound of Music and Julie Andrews in those hills and singing so freely and so beautifully, it was my escape as a child, who grew up in kind of a chaotic household,” she said [editor’s note: Sound of Music is not a Disney movie]. “It was music and it was Disney and it was the soundtrack of Disney that completely swept up my heart and gave me… before I even knew that I wanted to do it as a career, just that hope and that connection to magic. And that connection to just what imagination can do.”
She opened up about how Alice in Wonderland is a favorite for her family. “To snuggle with my kids on the couch and just be under blankets and be captivated by these amazing worlds that Disney creates is so incredible,” Aguilera said. “The world of Disney has made me feel like anything was possible at that young of an age. If I could imagine it, I could do it.”
And then she referenced her now-iconic time in the Mickey Mouse Club with fellow stars Justin Timberlake, Ryan Reynolds, Britney Spears, and more. “Being blessed with a spot also in the Mickey Mouse Club with fellow Mouseketeers who we’re very familiar with, who are amazing, it was such a special time for me,” she said. “That was when Mickey and Disney became my home.”
Things came full circle when Aguilera began talking about how recording “Reflection” led to her first album. “My audition for the song ‘Reflection’ also coincided with the landing of my record deal all in the same week,” she said. “So 2020, we’re coming up on the anniversary of Mulan which is incredible. And tomorrow is the anniversary of my debut album, so both things had such special meaning to me, truly.”
Aguilera loves the message of the some “Reflection,” and has carried it with her throughout her entire career.
“It’s an important message that promotes to live your truth,” she said. “It’s all in the lyrics. To live your truth, to show who you are, to be brave, to be a fighter. And now these are messages that I can pass on to my own son and daughter, who are fans of the movie. The messages still hold true and they’re timeless. It’s not your gender or anything outside yourself that defines you. What defines you is who you are inside.”
Aguilera’s performance comes ahead of the debut of the live-action version of Mulan, which is set to hit theaters on Mar. 27, 2020.