This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
Videos: Grammys Pay Tribute To Whitney Houston With Prayer, Song
During last night's Grammy Awards telecast, the music industry association acknowledged Whitney Houston's shocking death almost immediately. After the opening performance from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, host LL Cool J took to the stage and said, "There's no way around it. We've had a death in our family. For me, the only thing that feels right is to begin with a prayer for a woman who we love, for our fallen sister, Whitney Houston."
The rapper said, "Heavenly father, we thank you for sharing our sister Whitney with us. Today our thoughts are with her mother, her daughter and all of her loved ones. And although she is gone too soon, we remain truly blessed to have been touched by her beautiful spirit, and to have the legacy of her music to cherish and share forever. Amen."
Later on, during Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt's tribute to Etta James, they mentioned Houston, "We love Whitney Houston." And, at the end of the Grammys' tribute to the artists lost in the past year, Jennifer Hudson performed Houston's biggest hit, the cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You." Hudson, who reportedly broke down during rehearsals(she only hours to prepare), did a poignant job:
Later on, Recording Academy president Neil Portnow revealed that LL Cool J's prayer was not scripted, but they knew he would address it, "We've been working with LL for the last four nominations specials. He's a member of the Academy and a musician, so he kind of gets everything from a very soulful heartfelt place. He said, 'Well, what I would do if it was in my house would be, I'd say a prayer.' And we thought, if that’s what you would do and that's the words that would come out of your mouth, no need to write that, just do it from your heart. And so he was prepared to do that. You saw he took his notes out, and we thought it was the right thing to do."