WASHINGTON — This year’s Kennedy Center Honors recognizing outstanding artists and performers managed to skip the political drama that loomed over it earlier this year.

The president usually sits with the honorees and other guests. But honoree Norman Lear threatened to boycott the event over his opposition to President Trump, and other artists expressed unease with the idea of meeting the president. A showdown was avoided when Trump announced in August that he and first lady Melania Trump would not attend.

Another honoree, rapper and actor LL Cool J, called the evening “an amazing, amazing moment” for a hip-hop artist who officials said was the youngest ever Kennedy Center Honors recipient at 49.

The 40th annual Kennedy Center Honors also paid tribute to dancer and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade and musicians Lionel Richie and Gloria Estefan.

The program is to be televised Dec. 26 on CBS.