This post has been updated. Please see below for details.
The annual pre-Grammy gala known as the
That's why Usher, R&B's crown prince, admitted to the packed ballroom that he once planned to use the stage name Cha Cha. He was doing his part to make the star-studded audience feel like family.
But he was aiming to keep the mood light too: Saturday’s party came days away from the anniversary of
On Saturday Davis remembered his protégé with some words and a video clip from an early TV special; he also thanked Houston’s brother Gary and sister-in-law Pat for coming. (The singer’s mother, Cissy Houston, told
For the most part, though, Saturday’s three-hour bash — attended by
That’s what you had to assume, anyway, when
"I wanted the culture of [electronic dance music] to be represented tonight," Davis said, and so it was — even if the sound proved a strange match for the ballroom setting.
Following Afrojack’s opening set, Davis brought to the stage
Usher’s performance of “U Got It Bad” and “Climax” doubled as a toast to this year’s recipient of the so-called Industry Icon award, Epic Records chairman (and “X Factor” judge) Antonio “L.A.” Reid. Known for his work with
"Thank you for that," the singer said, getting laughs from the well-lubricated room.
Saturday’s show closed with a triple play of female soul singers, beginning with Emeli Sandé, the young British artist who apparently does for Davis what
Did it sound like Knight had ridden that train about a billion times before? It most certainly did. But that didn't stop the assembled glitterati from happily joining her anyway.
Update, 9:30 p.m. An earlier version of this post identified Saturday as the anniversary of Whitney Houston's death. The anniversary actually falls on Monday.