Jennifer Hudson

Tonight’s Grammy Awards will become a coronation of Adele, not a wake for Whitney Houston.

To be sure, the Grammys will honor Whitney, who died about 6 p.m. Saturday Central time in her Beverly Hills hotel room. Nearly five hours later, the producers of the awards announced that Jennifer Hudson would sing a "respectful musical tribute" to Houston Sunday night.

"It’s too fresh in everyone’s memory to do more at this time, but we would be remiss if we didn’t recognize Whitney’s remarkable contribution to music fans in general, and in particular her close ties with the Grammy telecast and her Grammy wins and nominations over the years," said Grammys executive producer Ken Ehrlich, who has been involved with the awards since the early 1980s.

Houston, 48, earned six Grammys, including album of the year ("The Bodyguard") and record of the year ("I Will Always Love You") in 1993.

Saturday night’s annual pre-Grammy gala, presented by longtime music-biz power broker Clive Davis, turned into a celebration of Houston. As it should have. It was at this event in the early 1980s that Davis introduced the 19-year-old Houston to the music-biz’s big players. Houston loved this exclusive party. In fact, she was planning to attend Saturday’s affair.

Here were some of Davis’ opening remarks, according to the New York Times:

"I don’t have to mask my emotion in front of a room full of so many dear friends. I am personally devastated by the loss of someone who has meant so much to me for so many years.

"Whitney was so full of life. She was so looking forward to tonight even though she wasn’t scheduled to perform. She loved music and she loved this night that celebrates music.

"Whitney was a beautiful person and a talent beyond compare. She graced this stage with her regal presence and gave so many memorable performances here over the years. Simply put, Whitney would have wanted the music to go on and her family asked that we carry on."

The evening was supposed to salute Diana Ross, who is being honored with a Grammy for lifetime achievement, and Richard Branson, Virgin Records impresario who received the Grammys president’s merit award. But many of the performers praised Houston, including Alicia Keys. The gala attracted a hall of fame of stars including Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, John Fogerty, Tony Bennett, Herbie Hancock and Gladys Knight as well as such newer names as Adam Lambert, Kelly Rowland, Ciara, Ne-Yo and Skrillex.

 

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