Jennifer Hudson tribute to Whitney Houston: The must-see video


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Jennifer Hudson’s tribute to Whitney Houston at the Grammys on Sunday night was a heartbreaking showstopper. And it’s easy to see why.

The producers of the 54th Annual Grammy Awards had to scramble to find a way to revamp the awards show to honor Whitney Houston just hours after the singer was declared dead under mysterious circumstances in her Beverly Hilton room in Beverly Hills. The 48-year-old pop legend had long struggled with drug addiction.


Houston’s memory loomed large over the awards, with host L.L. Cool J. starting the show by addressing the challenge of celebrating music on a night tinged with such heartache. ‘There is no way around this. We had a death in our family,’ he said before leading the audience at Staples Center in a prayer for ‘our sister Whitney.’

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston: 1963-2012

But all agreed — including Houston’s mentor, Clive Davis — that Houston would have wanted the show to go on. So it did.

Hudson’s emotional rendition of ‘I Will Always Love You’ did not try to compete with Houston’s version of the song. Instead, it paid homage and deference to a voice for the ages, a voice that influenced so many other performers, Hudson among them.

Wearing a somber yet elegant black dress and backlighted, Hudson’s hair and makeup (particularly those glossy, nude lips) recalled Houston in her heyday. Still, Hudson nonetheless put her own twist on the song, finishing it this way: ‘Whitney, we love, we love you.’



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— Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch