We were impressed with Jordin Sparks heartfelt tribute to the late Whitney Houston at last night’s Billboard Music Awards. According to Radaronline.com, the last song Houston recorded was released today. Produced by R. Kelly, “Celebrate” is a happy upbeat duet Houston recorded with her Sparkle co-star Jordin Sparks who plays her daughter in the upcoming movie. If Whitney’s strong vocals in this song are any indication of the direction she was headed in prior to her untimely passing, it indeed proves what many have already said–Whitney Houston was ready to make a big comeback.
Houston opens the track sounding nearly as good as she did before her vocals became strained. “Everybody’s been so uptight. Everybody forgetting to live their life,” she sings. Sparks’ higher octave is a beautiful complement to Whitney’s lower gospel tone. “It’s time to celebrate, come on and celebrate,” the duo sing together. This song seems like a perfect embodiment of Whitney Houston–celebrating life and taking in the younger generation of singers with open arms.
The Billboard Music Awards may not be known for scandalous surprise girl-on-girl kisses like the VMAs or interesting collaborations like the Grammys, but the 2012 Billboard Music Awards is offering performances by the hottest artists of today. Carrie Underwood, Linkin Park, Nelly Furtado and Kelly Clarkson are only a few of the A-listers hitting the stage this Sunday at MGM in Las Vegas. We’re curious to find out if BMA can pull off a tribute to the Queen of Disco, Donna Summer, in just three days. Watching how artists bring their songs to life at a major award show is always exhilarating, but here’s the five singers we’re most excited to see and why.
Finally, a full Whitney Houston tribute. Jennifer Hudson did an amazing job at the Grammy Awards, but we were left wanting so much more. Thanks to Billboard, our wish came true in the form of John Legend and Jordin Sparks (who actually co-starred with Houston in the remake of Sparkle). It’s no easy feat to cover The Voice’s songs for even the best vocalists in the business. We’d love to hear the two sing “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” or “How Will I Know” as they are Houston’s earlier songs that are light and fun. It was announced that Bobbi Kristina and Cissy Houston are making special guest appearances to accept awards on Houston’s behalf. Will the gospel legend sing and take everybody to church? A lot is riding on this tribute, we’re hoping they nail it. Read more…
Whitney Houston‘s death has been an emotion roller coaster for those that loved her the most. If it’s not the Houston’s upcoming Lifetime reality show it’s salacious interviews with Bobby Brown‘s sister claiming the pop star’s death wasn’t an accident. On a brighter (but still sad) note, Bobby Brown debuted a song for Whitney on “The tonight Show with Jay Leno.” “Don’t Let Me Die” is featured on his upcoming album Masterpiece, scheduled for release on June 5. Brown details his feelings in the heartfelt tribute to his late ex-wife of 15 years. Disguised in dark sunglasses Brown sings, “I didn’t realize, every breath I took was for you, and you were my air.” Beautiful words to honor The Voice, but we don’t know if his current fiancee will think it’s so sweet.
Struggling to get the words out in what sounds more like him talking than singing, Brown reveals he has regrets from his tumultuous relationship. “I guess I messed up pretty bad,” he croons. “I didn’t know who you were, I didn’t know what we had.” Recently he rebutted the rumors that he was the cause of Whitney’s drug use in an interview with “Today’s” Matt Lauer. But he’s not denying the fact that the relationship was troubled, which we all witnessed on “Being Bobby Brown.” Emotions are high when he nearly hollers, “It’s killing me softly…don’t let me die.” Dang, Bobby. We can’t imagine the type of pain he’s in, especially since he’s admittedly living with regrets. This is a thoughtful tribute coming from an honest place. We want the reformed badboy to take some time to grieve. And while he’s doing that hopefully his fiancee doesn’t question whether or not he’s yearning for the love that once was.
We have to be totally honest, we still haven’t fully come to grips with the tragic death of Whitney Houston earlier this year. There’s still a tiny part of us that refuses to believe that we’ll never hear her heavenly voice sing another new song, even though we know that to be the case. On top of that, we still have a bad taste in our mouths about the way that the Grammys failed honor Whitney’s memory in the way that she deserved. Thankfully, this year’s VH1 DIVAS program will remedy all that.
We just got wind of a few details about this year’s program, and although details are scant, we wanted to share with you what we’ve heard so far. Namely, that this year’s VH1 Divas — which will air live from Los Angeles in December — will be framed as a salute to the musical legacy of Whitney Houston. Of course, Whitney had appeared on three prior telecasts of VH1 DIVAS, back in 1999, 2002 and 2003 — you can watch her performance of “It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay” from the 1999 show below! Additionally, Rickey Minor —who worked with Whitney for a number of years— will be the evening’s musical director. We don’t have any other concrete details to share with you at this moment, but as soon as those deets become available, you can bet you’ll hear them here first!
A pleasant surprise in the form of Alicia Keys graced the stage at MTV’s annual Upfront in NYC on Thursday night at the Beacon Theater. The 14-time GRAMMY award winning singer debuted a new ballad, “Not Even the King,” in which she belted out a soft melody over the piano about people that “can’t afford what we got, not even the King.”
Since Keys and hubby super producer Swizz Beats had baby Egypt Daoud Dean in October 2010, Keys has (mostly) been basking in mommyhood. Its been almost three years since her last album The Element of Freedom dropped, and Keys’ last performance was an emotion-filled tribute at the funeral of her friend Whitney Houston. Many criticized her voice for being off key that day (no pun intended), but her performance last night proves she’s still got the chops. We’re unsure if “Not Even the King” is from her forthcoming album, but either way, it looks like she might be ready to get back into the studio. Read more…
In a performance that could melt the heart of even the biggest talent show skeptic, Jessica Sanchez bought America to it’s knees last night with her rendition of Whitney Houston‘s “I Will Always Love You” on Idol. Jessica’s version of the song was a seamless tribute to the original, and she hit every note with such grace and ease it was hard not to get a little misty eyed as she memorialized the late, great legend with one of the most moving covers we’ve ever heard. And we weren’t the only ones — all three judges were completely ecstatic, and both Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler seemed to have shed a tear or two during the stirring performance. Randy Jackson proclaimed, “Give it all to her! Jessica Sanchez is legit… This is one of the best talents in the whole country!” Jenny was equally gushing, but it was Steven who said what we were all thinking, “Jessica, you may be The One. You just made 40 million people cry.”
Rihanna Is Being Considered To Play Whitney Houston In A Biopic About The Singer’s Life
Apparently a biopic about Whitney Houston‘s life is in the works, a mere week after the late legend was buried. Reportedly, Rihanna is a candidate to play the role, although some of the parallels in the two performers’ lives (can anyone say abuse at the hand of a man named Brown?) hit a little bit too close to home for our liking. [Pop Dust]
Azealia Banks Reveals Details Of Debut Album Azealia Banks‘ debut album will be called Broke With Expensive Taste and it will be out this September. She said, “I’m not trying to withdraw, but I am trying to find that personal space again because I have an album to finish… All the praise from the fashion world is great but now everybody wants a piece and everybody wants an interview, but I need to step away and get my music done.” We can’t wait! [Pitchfork]
Robin Thicke has paid heartfelt tribute to Whitney Houston by covering her beautiful 1995 song, “Exhale (Shoop, Shoop)”. His soft, gentle vocal compliments the track perfectly, and the stripped back arrangement gives the song an utter poignancy that will bring a tear to your eye. “Exhale” was the late Houston’s 11th number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 and was awarded a Grammy in 1997 for Best R&B Song. The heart wrenching cover will have you grabbing for the Kleenex as the subject matter — inspiring yourself to push on despite hurt or disappointment — resonates with the ultimate tragedy of Houston’s early passing. Robin himself Tweeted of the track:
And what a moving tribute. Robin’s vocals bring out a sense of nostalgia and whimsy, in a respect filled ode to the musical great.
Over the weekend Bobby Brown controversially left the funeral of his late ex-wife, Whitney Houston. The debacle unfolded after Brown entered the church where the funeral was taking place with three other people, including his current wife, and was then forced to move seats several times by security. The LA Times reported that CNN journalist Raelyn Johnson (allegedly the only journalist inside the church), said that Brown “was not the only celebrity who had musical chairs going on,” and that “no one on the inside of that church knew that Bobby Brown was having any sort of drama.” Johnson said that Brown “was not singled out,” and that many VIP guests were moved around inside the church in accordance with Baptist traditional funeral protocols, which strictly say that those wishing to sit in the first few rows with the family must enter with the casket, or with the family if the casket is already in place, which Brown failed to do.
However, the confusion with the seating arrangement upset the bereaved Brown, who felt he was treated differently to other guests, and he issued a statement saying, “My children and I were invited to the funeral of my ex-wife Whitney Houston. We were seated by security and then subsequently asked to move on three separate occasions. I fail to understand why security treated my family this way and continued to ask us and no one else to move. Security then prevented me from attempting to see my daughter Bobbi Kristina. In light of the events, I gave a kiss to the casket of my ex-wife and departed as I refused to create a scene… I will continue to pay my respects to my ex-wife the best way I know how.” The distraught Brown then went on to play a concert with New Edition later that night at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut during which, according to the Huffington Post, he pointed a finger skyward and said “Blessings to my ex-wife, Whitney Houston. I love you.”
UPDATE (4:12 p.m.): Whitney Houston’s “Going Home” funeral service this afternoon, held at Newark, NJ’s New Hope Baptist Church, was a largely celebratory affair that lasted nearly four hours. There were a number of emotion-soaked moments — Alicia Keys’ performance, Kevin Costner’s eulogy — but the crowd at today’s service seemed to want to concentrate more on celebrating Whitney’s tremendous life than mourning her untimely loss one week ago today at the age of 48. When Whitney’s casket was carried out of the church today, “I Will Always Love You” rang out.
The day’s most controversial moment came 24 minutes into the service, which began at noon EST, when ABC News reported that Houston’s ex-husband, Bobby Brown, left the funeral and church unexpectedly. TMZ is reporting that Brown was asked to leave by Houston’s family due to a seating dispute; Bobby wanted to bring nine people into the service with him, but his invitation was only good for two people.
In an unrelated incident, Aretha Franklin did not perform today as originally expected;