In honor of the 2017 American Music Awards, Billboard is counting down the best performances from the awards show’s history. Here is No. 7.
Whitney Houston was one of very few artists whom it could be said about that everything she did was iconic, a must-see, and saying so is not hyperbole. At the 1994 AMAs, Reba McEntire introduced Houston while Will Smith stood by her completely beside himself with excitement.
The audience got nearly 10 minutes of Houston, who sang a medley of the standard “I Loves You Porgy” and “I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” before launching into her own “I Have Nothing.”
As Houston showed off her incomparable range in “I Have Nothing,” graciously composed before the microphone in a partially see-through black gown, the camera panned to her then-husband Bobby Brown and late daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, as a baby.
Houston unexpectedly passed on Feb. 11, 2012, and her daughter too died in July 2015 after spending several months in a coma.
Watch the full performance, a vocal clinic by the late Houston, below.
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The 2017 American Music Awards will broadcast live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.