7:21 pm, February 12th, 2012GRAMMYS
Whitney Houston was far and away the biggest topic topic on the Grammys red carpet Sunday, with stars still reacting to her shocking death and sharing their huge admiration for the late singer.
Speaking to E!‘s Ryan Seacrest, Grammy Awards host LL Cool J said Saturday’s news was “devastating.”
“We immediately had to jump in gear and try to figure out how we could be respectful and show her the appreciation she deserves,” the actor-musician explained, adding he hopes Houston’s family and fans “appreciate” the tribute.
Jennifer Hudson was selected, he said, because she represents “the closest” thing to Houston’s caliber in music today.
Tony Bennett, who performed at Clive Davis‘ annual pre-Grammys bash just hours after news of Houston’s passing broke, said the songstress was “the greatest singer I’ve ever heard. It’s amazing what happened to her.”
And Kelly Price, who unexpectedly hosted Houston’s last-ever public performance on Thursday, said they “had a great time.”
“We partied, we celebrated, we danced,” Price said, adding “I wasn’t expecting her to sing… She just walked up on the stage, we embraced each other and she said, ‘Give me the mic.’”
Upon hearing of Houston’s death outside a Grammys gifting suite on Saturday, Price said she “was praying it was an Internet hoax.”
“I hate them,” she said, “but I was hoping it was one.”
With the Grammy Awards proceeding mostly as planned, Price said Houston “would want it to be celebratory and be about the music. She loved what she did.”
Billy Ray Cyrus said the atmosphere could be described as “a great deal of sadness, but yet at the same time, I think there’s a feeling of honor.”
Calling Houston “an incredible talent,” Miley‘s dad noted that the late singer had “always been very nice to me and my family as we’ve crossed paths over the year. As an artist… she sang the backdrop of our lives.”
Paris Hilton recalled the first time she and Houston met, sharing, “I was so excited because I always admired her when I was a little girl.”
“It’s so heartbreaking and awful,” the socialite added.
Grammy winner Corinne Rae Bailey said, “Whitney Houston was an influence on all singers my age, and younger as well,” adding, “It’s just really, really sad news.”
Kelly Rowland reflected on meeting Houston for the first time in a hotel lobby, where the iconic star started signing Destiny’s Child songs.
“I wouldn’t be standing her, I feel like, if it wasn’t for her,” she said.
The Grammy nominee, who said there’s “a very somber tone tonight at the Grammys because we lost our hero,” sent prayers to Houston’s mother and daughter.
“If we feel this great of a loss,” Rowland said, “I can only imagine how heavy their hearts are.”
She added, “I just hope she knows how much she impacted not just the music industry, but the world with her voice.”
Ice-T shared that he met Houston “back in the day, when she was with Bobby [Brown].”
He called Houston’s death “a tragedy,” adding, “it’s just crazy. It’s sad.”
“The Voice” judge Adam Levine, with his Maroon 5 bandmates, said “everyone’s kind of in shock.”
Houston “impacted everybody,” he said. “She’s Whitney freakin’ Houston. We’re all just very upset.”
Jessie J, who was attending the Grammys for the first time, revealed she met Houston’s daughter earlier in the week at Grammys rehearsals.
“It’s still a shock,” she said, adding Houston is “the reason that I started to sing.”
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