At last night's 2012 Billboard Music Awards, Whitney Houston was honored posthumously with the Millennium Award and a touching tribute lead by John Legend and Jordin Sparks (who plays Houston's daughter in the film Sparkle). Legend began by performing "Greatest Love of All" on the piano, and then Jordin followed him up with -- wait for it! -- "I Will Always Love You."
While the performance was tearjerking and beautiful, it's just a bit annoying that the people behind these awards shows seem to think that's the only song to do to honor Whitney. After Jennifer Hudson performed it at the Grammys, you would have thought someone would be smart enough to say, "Hey, Jordin, how 'bout doing 'I Have Nothing' or 'Didn't We Almost Have it All?'" There are plenty of big Houston ballads that were major hits! Not as big as "I Will Always Love You," maybe, but still ...
Anyway. Song choice aside, the performance was truly lovely. I appreciated that Jordin put her own twist on the song in subtle ways -- not singing certain parts the exact way that Whitney did. (That always drives me nuts, because there's a huge difference between tribute and straight-up imitation.) And by making it her own, it didn't become a Xerox of JHud's gripping Grammys performance. Thank goodness!
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Most importantly, though, it really resonated with the person in the audience whose opinion mattered most: Bobbi Kristina, who later gave a heartfelt speech upon accepting the Millennium Award on her mother's behalf. During Jordin's performance, Whitney's daughter was wiping away tears, mouthing along with the lyrics, and turning her head skyward (a shout-out to Mom?). It's heartbreaking to watch ...
Here's the clip of the performance, if you missed it last night. (Warning: You might need to have some tissues nearby.)
How do you feel about Jordin's tribute? How 'bout Bobbi Kristina's reaction?
Image via ABC via joeyzolanski/YouTube