Grammys give Whitney Houston a glittering salute
Whitney Houston was given a final sendoff by the Grammys last night as Halle Berry, Britney Spears, Jennifer Hudson, Usher and other stars shared their memories and performed in homage to the late singer.
Academy-award winner Berry made a tearful introduction at the "We Will Always Love You: A Grammy Salute to Whitney Houston" special, and praised the "unforgettable" performer.
"She inspired a generation of little girls and women to believe in their own dream and to know that they had within themselves the greatest gift of all. I was one of those little girls who then became a woman who never ever, ever, stopped loving Whitney Houston," Berry said.
The event was attended by Houston's daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown, who was joined by boyfriend Nick Gordon and sister-in-law Pat Houston.
Noticeably absent was Houston's mother, Cissy, and her brother Gary. Record label executive Clive Davis, who discovered the late singer, sat alongside the family in the front row.
The tribute comes towards the end of a year in which the music world was rocked by Houston's sudden death at age 48 in February. She was found dead in a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub on the night before the Grammy awards, from what authorities said was accidental drowning brought on by cocaine use and heart disease.
A homage to Houston was quickly put together at the Grammy awards in February with Jennifer Hudson singing a heart-felt rendition of "I Will Always Love You" on a stage lit by a single spotlight. Later in May, R&B star Jordin Sparks, who co-starred with Houston in the late singer's final movie "Sparkle," sang the same song at the Billboard Music Awards in tribute.
There was no mention of Houston's turbulent personal life and history of drug abuse on Thursday as the Grammy organizers decided to focus on the late singer's career achievements and best-known performances, including her rendition of the "Star-Spangled Banner" at the 1991 Superbowl.
Hudson channeled Houston's style from the 1980s with big hair and a glittering blazer, performing more uptempo numbers with a medley of "I'm Every Woman," "How Will I Know" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody".
R&B star Usher sang "I Believe In You And Me" and gospel singers Cece Winans and Yolanda Adams delivered a rousing performance of "Count On Me," which had Houston's family in tears.
Canadian singer Celine Dion was on the bill to perform on the night but was unable to make it, taping her rendition of "The Greatest Love Of All" in Canada to air during the televised special.
The event organisers decided to leave Houston's best-known song, "I Will Always Love You," to the late singer, showing a tape of her singing at the 1994 Grammy awards.
Presenters at the event shared their memories. Pop star and "X Factor" judge Spears said her version of Houston's "I Have Nothing" scored her a deal with a record label and started her career.
The audience were also treated to exclusive interviews from the early days of Houston's career, showing her talking about fame, philosophy and religion.
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Lee Evans announces retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
- 2 Pirelli calendar 2015: The problem with 'plus-size' models like Candice Huffine
- 3 These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
Lee Evans announces retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Willow and Jaden Smith talk duality of apples, holographic realities and the melancholia of the ocean in incredible New York Times interview
Winnie the Pooh banned from Polish playground for being an 'inappropriate hermaphrodite'
I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie confirmed to enter jungle
Drawn Blank: Bob Dylan exhibition showcases the musician's bold and vibrant paintings
G20 summit: Enter Putin. Accompanied by four warships. To the sound of mockery
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
David Cameron 'compares Vladimir Putin’s Russia to Nazi Germany' ahead of tense meeting
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
G20 summit: David Cameron warns Vladimir Putin that Russia's relationship with the West is at a 'fork in the road' over Ukraine