All talk at the Grammys centered on Whitney Houston, who passed away the night before the awards show while preparing for Clive Davis' pre-Grammy party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel.
There was not a dry eye in the crowd when Jennifer Hudson took the stage and sang "I Will Always Love You." The singer, who was presented with her first ever Grammy by Whitney Houston, was visibly emotional throughout her rousing performance, pausing at moments to hold back tears. She closed the song by switching out the original lyrics to say, "Whitney, we love you."
Houston's death was on everyone's minds throughout the day and Grammy producers scrambled to plan a tribute to the singer before the show. Host LL Cool J acknowledged her in his opening remarks, saying, "We've had a death in our family, and so at least for me, the only thing that feels right is to start with a prayer for a woman we loved, our fallen sister, Whitney Houston."
One person who surprisingly opted out of paying tribute was Whitney's good friend Chaka Khan. While it was reported she would perform with Jennifer Hudson, she was a no-show at the awards ceremony, and tweeted, "As I grieve the loss of my friend and "little sister," I don't feel it appropriate to perform at this time. Continue to pray for the family."
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