Jennifer Hudson performed a last-minute tribute to Whitney Houston at last night's Grammy Awards, singing "I Will Always Love You" alone on a darkened stage. Tributes to Houston were kept simple and muted, and the show's producer Ken Ehrlich said beforehand,
"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."
Though a massive, five-diva sing-off of Houston's greatest hits probably would have been awesome, Hudson's simple, respectful performance was tasteful and fitting. Plus, in an emotional, intensely high-pressure situation, she completely killed it, in spite of reports that she had difficulty making it through rehearsals without breaking down in tears.
Prior to the performance LL Cool J opened the show with a prayer for Houston, saying, "There is no way around this: we've had a death in our family."
Amy Winehouse's father also paid tribute to Houston when accepting an award on behalf of his daughter, saying, "Long live Whitney Houston, long live Amy Winehouse, long live Etta James. There's a beautiful girl band up in heaven." And, now I'm tearing up. R.I.P. Whitney Houston.