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Posted at 8:17 PM ET, 02/15/2011

Madeleine Albright joins Chris Botti's rhythm section during Valentine's Day concert (video)

By The Reliable Source

Madeleine Albright with drummer Billy Kilson. (Andy Ezrin)

Call her "Sticks."

That's Madeleine Albright's new nickname, thanks to an impromptu performance with jazz trumpeter Chris Botti on Monday night at the Kennedy Center. The former secretary of state was invited onstage near the end of the concert, where she sat down at the drums for an encore of . . . wait for it -- "Nessun Dorma" from Puccini's opera "Turandot."

"I'm in love," Albright told us on Tuesday.

To say she's a huge fan of Botti is an understatement, describing his music as "hauntingly beautiful" and "totally great." The two chatted at last month's state dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao (Albright was a guest, Botti one of the after-dinner performers) and soon after, Albright was invited to his Valentine's concert presented by the Washington Performing Arts Society.

Before the show, Albright went backstage to say hello and Botti asked her to join him for the encore. The fact that she's never played the drums (or any instrument) didn't stop her: "I thought about it for about 10 seconds and said yes."

During the concert, Botti told the audience that Albright was in the house and dedicated "The Very Thought of You" to her. But the crowd was still surprised when she strolled onstage and sat down behind the drums -- even members of the band pulled out cameras and started snapping away. Her performance (a sustained drum riff) received a standing ovation and, within hours, a cellphone video popped up on YouTube.

"I had the best time!" she said. "It was totally, totally unexpected. Those are probably the best."

And since you asked: She was wearing her signature pins (hearts, of course) and . . . whoa, a sexy black leather skirt. "I don't wear it that often," she confessed

By The Reliable Source  | February 15, 2011; 8:17 PM ET
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You go, girl!

I don't know much about Botti -- didn't get too much of the "hauntingly beautiful" vibe from that clip -- but for Madeleine to get up there, in leather skirt, no less, took some guts that I probably wouldn't have. Good for her, glad she had fun.

Posted by: sally1860 | February 15, 2011 11:35 PM | Report abuse

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