Last night, the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas was lit with stars as celebrities stepped out for the 2012 Billboard Music Awards. The annual show honors some of the best and biggest in the business and for us watching at home, that meant the highly anticipated tribute to Whitney Houston.
BMA did Ms. Houston right by having John Legend sing “The Greatest Love of All” followed by Jordin Sparks who impressed most listeners by taking on Whitney’s most popular—and difficult—song, “I Will Always Love You.” After the tribute, Bobbi Kristina came on stage with Pat Houston to accept Whitney’s Millennium Award from Billboard execs and she told the audience:
“I just really want to say thank you to everyone who supported us through it all, not just from when it was good, but when it was bad, to just everything. Thank you so much for showing that much love, because she deserved it. I’m just blessed to have been in such an incredible woman’s life. There will never be another one, ever.”
Natasha Bedingfield recalled disco legend Donna Summer’s influence over her own music in a much more subdued tribute to the 63-year-old who died from cancer last week. The British pop songstress launched into a 30-second rendition of the late singers ’70s anthem “Last Dance,” after telling the crowd:
“Donna Summer was a remarkable woman who brought so much light to so many. If we can remember her through her music, this can never really be the last dance.”
Billboard didn’t only reserve its flowers for the dead though. The award ceremony also recognized Motown legend Stevie Wonder with the Billboard Icon Award, presented by Alicia Keys. The two did a duet of “Higher Ground” and “Overjoyed” before Stevie saluted Alicia’s pipes and requested an on-the-spot solo of “Empire State of Mind” from A Keys as a belated birthday gift.
“This really belongs to you and most of all, it belongs to almighty god because all of it is possible for me because my prayers came true,” Stevie said as he accepted the award. “So I must also say to all of you, we are in a place in life where we have to commit ourselves to one thing, and that is to love. I truly believe that love always will rule over hate, and peace over war.
“I do believe that, and I feel that we are approximately 7 billion people in the world, and I’d like for all of us today – including you – to commit yourself today to using your heart and putting your best love forward. Not only that, committing yourself, coming together to change the world by being as one. Please!”
Check out video of Whitney Houston’s tribute and Stevie and Alicia below and tell us what you think. Did they do these singers justice?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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