The Grammy Awards ceremony tonight will feature a special musical tribute to Whitney Houston, performed by Jennifer Hudson, who has called Houston her idol.
The Recording Academy decided to add the last-minute tribute to the show’s lineup after Houston was found dead Saturday afternoon in a bathtub in her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where she was planning on attending Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party that night.
“A light has been dimmed in our music community today, and we extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends, fans and all who have been touched by her beautiful voice,” Neil Portnow, president/CEO of The Recording Academy, said in a statement Saturday night.
Houston, 48, was a six-time Grammy winner who performed at the Grammys eight times between 1986 and 2000. Her most recent Grammy win was in 1999 for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay.”
Houston presented Hudson with her first Grammy in 2008 for Best R&B Album for her record, “Jennifer Hudson.” Hudson later said that meeting Houston “almost overshadowed getting the Grammy.”
The rest of the show is expected to go as planned, though Houston will doubtless be at the forefront of everyone’s minds,
Her celebrity friends and fans have taken to the Internet to post statements and tweets about the late icon. Clive Davis’ Grammy party was still held in the hotel Saturday night, with Davis saying Houston would have wanted the music to go on.
The Grammy Awards famously focus on performances instead of awards and speeches, with most of the actual 78 awards are presented off-camera.
In addition to Hudson’s tribute, other performances slated for tonight include an Etta James tribute by Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt, a duet between Rihanna and Coldplay, a duet between Tony Bennett and Carrie Underwood and Adele’s highly anticipated first big performance since her vocal cord surgery.
Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Paul McCartney, Bruno Mars are also expected to perform, among others.
Kanye West is the most nominated artist, with seven nods, and Adele, Bruno Mars and the Foo Fighters are close behind with six nominations. Adele is the anticipated favorite, expected to sweep her categories.