Jennifer HudsonJennifer Hudson's tribute to Whitney Houston was inarguably one of the most, if not the most, anticipated moments of last night's Grammys 2012. In a way, it seemed Houston had passed the torch to Hudson a couple of years ago, lending her support to the new star's performance of "I Will Always Love You" at the BET Honors in 2010. Thus, it only seemed fitting that Hudson should be the one to take on the heavy-hearted, tricky task of paying tribute to Houston less than 48 hours after her death. Fitting ... but not easy, that's for sure. Hudson reportedly had "a hard time" during rehearsals, as she kept "crying and had to keep pausing."

But how did the end result go down? Well, it's safe to say that, given the extreme emotion of the moment and the time constraint to prepare, Hudson more than managed to knock the performance out of the park ... in the most simple, elegant, and powerful way possible.

After the annual "In Memoriam" montage for those who have passed away over the course of the year, Hudson appeared on stage, bathed in a spotlight. We saw only the singer's silhouette -- a chilling nod to Whitney's 1994 performance, which host LL Cool J presented earlier in the evening. But from the moment she began to sing "I Will Always Love You" once again, there was nothing odd, eerie, or premature about seeing and hearing Hudson cover Houston's most famous ballad.

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It could have come off like a cover or an opportunity for Hudson to prove she's capable of filling Whitney's shoes. But Hudson absolutely didn't fall into those traps. Instead, her performance truly was everything a tribute should be. She managed to make her own ... but just enough. For instance, she was smart to skip the huge note at the end of the song, which was by far one of those signature moves that will always be uniquely Whitney's. And of course, to ad-lib "Whitney, we love you" was an absolutely perfect tweak. I'm convinced there is no star out there who could have honored Houston in a more unforgettable, heart wrenching, pitch-perfect way.

Here's the performance if you missed it last night ...

 

What did you think about Jennifer Hudson's tribute to Whitney Houston?

 

Image via Kevin Winter/Getty