"For me, the only thing that feels right begins with a prayer -- for a woman who we loved. For our fallen sister, Whitney Houston," LL Cool J said of the late legend. The host opened the 54th Annual Grammy Awards with a prayer for Houston.
Moments after news broke of Houston's death Saturday (Feb. 11), the Recording Academy put together a classic tribute to the legend, last minute.
Jennifer Hudson, who looked at Whitney Houston as a mentor, belted the late singer's hit, "I Will Always Love You," with such passion. Hudson emphasized Houston's vocal depth by staying true to her own, owning the classic from the start.
Recording Academy president Neil Portnow promised tonight's show would be "something respectful" and warned viewers that it the tribute wouldn't be a "full-blown tribute, that's too early and it's too fresh at this moment."
Early in the show, Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt joined forces to pay tribute to another legend, Etta James.