Whitney Houston’s unfortunate passing over the weekend shocked the world, with many still struggling to process the loss. Recognized by the Recording Industry Association of America as the top-selling female artist of the 20th century, Houston deserves every accolade and kind word showered upon her in the scant days since her death. That is why the Grammys’ weak efforts to honor Houston Sunday night is nearly unforgivable.
A brief look at the award-winning, record-setting career of singer Whitney Houston is enough to boggle the mind: six Grammy Awards, 22 American Music Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, and two Emmy Awards. Rather than focusing on Houston’s major musical contribution, though, it appears that CBS was content on keeping the show as lighthearted as possible.
But this isn’t a knock to Jennifer Hudson’s emotional and moving rendition of Houston’s smash hit “I Will Always Love You.” Hudson performed as a true professional should. And while it is quite possible that many stars may not have had the ability to hold themselves together as well as Jennifer Hudson did or maybe show planners felt it was too soon to do a full tribute, these possible reasons don’t get the Grammys off the hook for not producing a more elaborate tribute to Whitney Houston.
The right thing to do would have been to showcase the wide scope of Houston’s vocal ability and impact on today’s music scene. Without Houston’s big voice and classic good looks, the road to success for current R&B and Pop darlings Beyoncé and Alicia Keys would have been much rockier.
With a million-dollar production company at their disposal, why couldn’t the Grammys have carved out more space for Whitney? Did we need comedic bits and long performances from tired country singers to take precedence over one of music’s most-enduring acts?
Perhaps this May’s Billboard Music Awards will show the Grammys how a proper tribute should be done. Later in the year, the American Music Awards should also do their best to show proper favor to the best artists of all time. Whitney Houston certainly deserved more than the brief tribute she received last night.