Grammy Awards bosses learned of Whitney Houston's death on Saturday afternoon (11Feb12) while they were staging rehearsals for Adele's comeback performance at the Staples Center.
Ceremony producer Ken Ehrlich reveals he was stunned by the news, and the fact he was watching one of the greatest voices of the modern era perform onstage when one of the most powerful pop voices was silenced put him in a reflective mood.
Speaking to Access Hollywood Live on the morning after what is surely the most emotional and powerful Grammy Awards ever, Ehrlich said, "We were rehearsing Adele. It was at the same time and we know these parallels - two great voices, two great women - and it kind of buzzed around Staples. At first I didn't believe it.
"Most of the people in that building had worked with Whitney a number of times..."
Ehrlich was the man who made the call to Jennifer Hudson's manager, asking him if the Oscar and Grammy winner would be interested in performing a last-minute tribute to her idol, Houston - and he was thrilled when she agreed.
He added, "There's something in that voice, there's something in her being, there's something in her eyes... She's a really remarkable artist and I knew she'd have the sensitivity. What we didn't want her to do was bombast... I wanted her to stay within herself."
Hudson performed a pitch-perfect, emotionally-charged rendition of Houston's signature turn I Will Always Love You as part of the Grammy Awards' In Memoriam tribute to the musicians and executives who have passed in the last 12 months.
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