Understandably, the death of Whitney Houston was a big deal at last night’s Grammy Awards. The host of the ceremony, LL Cool J, opened things up with a prayer for Whitney, and later, Jennifer Hudson sang one of the songs most frequently associated with Whitney, “I Will Always Love You” as a tribute.
Also understandably, Jennifer Hudson was kind of a wreck. As Whitney only died on Saturday afternoon, Jennifer had very little time to prepare, and then, you know, there was that whole grief thing. People who were observing the rehearsal said that she was “having a hard time” with things:
Jennifer Hudson deserves all the praise the music industry can muster today as she prepares to pay tribute to Whitney Houston, the R&B superstar who was found dead in her hotel room on Saturday afternoon, hours before she was due to make an appearance at the annual Clive Davis pre-Grammy gala.
Not surprisingly, Hudson is said to be “having a hard time” at rehearsal for the tribute number, which will air three-quarters of the way through the broadcast, as part of a broader “In Memoriam” segment. She is singing Houston’s monster hit “I Will Always Love You.”
A Grammy crew member tells The Hollywood Reporter that Hudson was “crying and had to keep pausing” to collect herself during the Sunday afternoon rehearsal (the show kicks off at 5 p.m. PST). “She was having a hard time getting through the song, especially on the second run-through.”
Man, can you even imagine how hard this must have been for Jennifer Hudson? Whitney was, to put it mildly, a legend, and “I Will Always Love You,” to me at least, was her trademark song (sorry, Dolly!). She had less then 24 hours to find out that Whitney Houston died, that she was going to be the one doing a tribute, and then prepare for that tribute. That’s almost too much to deal with, but Jennifer pulled it off, and she pulled it off admirably.
Also, before the awards, LL Cool J said that Jennifer is “the closest thing we have now to what Whitney was.” Talk about pressure, right? But do you agree with LL here? I’ve been trying to think of someone else on Whitney’s level, but I really can’t. Her voice was just so insane and powerful, I can’t think of anyone else who comes close to that besides Jennifer Hudson. Can you?