I Will Always Love You: Best/Worst Whitney Houston Covers

January 17, 2015  |  
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There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the Whitney Houston biopic that’s set to air on Lifetime. “Whitney,” which is Angela Bassett’s directional debut, stars Yaya DaCosta as the late legend. Before we settle in with a big bowl of popcorn to watch “Whitney” tonight. Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst covers of classic Whitney songs.

Jazmine Sullivan

After making some noise with her hit songs “Need U Bad” and “Bust Your Windows,” Jazmine Sullivan disappeared from the music scene. She’s returned as of late and released a single with Meek Mill last May. The Philly native recently performed as part of “Vibe’s” V Sessions and gave a flawless rendition of Whitney Houston’s hit song “I Have Nothing.”


Soon after Whitney Houston passed away, the tributes started rolling in. R&B singer Ashanti appeared on “Good Morning America” several months after Houston’s untimely death to pay tribute to her. But Ashanti, who hasn’t had a hit of her own in years, must’ve been having an off day, because her vocals were off. She sounded pitchy while singing “I Have Nothing” and “I Will Always Love You.” Luckily, there were photos of Houston throughout her career showing on the monitors behind Ashanti and it was still a moving tribute despite her vocals.

Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson first captured our attention and hearts on the third season of “American Idol.” She didn’t win the singing competition but Hudson has become one of the most famous contestants from the show. Calling Whitney Houston one of her idols, Hudson first performed “I Have Nothing” during her time on “American Idol.” Unfortunately for Hudson, she was voted off the following week after singing Barry Manilow’s “Weekend in New England.”

Keri Hilson

Jennifer Hudson wasn’t the only R&B singer to tackle Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Keri Hilson was selected to pay tribute to Grammy-winning songwriter David Foster by covering Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” at the 2011 BMI Pop Music Awards. Unfortunately for Hilson, her version wasn’t nearly as good as Houston’s or even Hudson’s for that matter and she ended up butchering the song.

Sam Smith

Sam Smith has been the hottest singing exports out of the U.K. since Adele. His “Stay With Me” was one of the most played songs of 2014. The English crooner showed off his singing abilities during an appearance on SiriusXM last summer by tackling one of Whitney Houston’s songs. Smith put his own spin and flavor on Houston’s pop hit “How Will I Know” by slowing it down and making it a ballad.

Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande has always named Whitney Houston has one of her biggest musical inspirations. The pop star was invited to perform at the “Women Of Soul: In Performance At The White House” concert last year. Grande took to the stage to perform one of Houston’s classic songs “I Have Nothing.” Grande got through her nervousness and gave a stellar rendition of her hero’s song.

Jessie J

When Whitney Houston suddenly passed away in February 2012, countless people were stunned and left speechless. One of those people was Jessie J. She had always looked up to Houston and was supposed to sing in front of her hero and many other people at Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party. But Houston had passed away hours before never giving Jessie J the opportunity. A few years earlier, Jessie J covered one of the late singer’s songs and posted it to her tumblr and YouTube page.

Christina Aguilera

There’s no denying Christina Aguilera’s voice. She has a unique and powerful voice and all of that was on display back in 2001 when Xtina was asked to pay tribute to Whitney Houston at the 2001 BET Awards. Aguilera performed “Run To You” and gave a rousing performance that rivaled Houston herself.

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson shot to fame after winning the inaugural season of “American Idol.” But before she became a chart-topping singer and household name, Clarkson decided to try her hand at covering a Whitney Houston song. The young starlet chose “Queen of the Nile” and although she didn’t come close to bringing the same kind of attitude Houston brought to the song, it did show her potential.

Leona Lewis

Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” isn’t an easy song for a skilled singer to get through let along an amateur. But Leona Lewis decided it was the perfect song for her to sing while on “X Factor” and she was right. The English songstress, who has been compared to Houston, sang the hit song and wowed the crowd and the judges, which included Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell.

Katy Perry

One of Whitney Houston’s biggest songs was one that was released very early on in her career. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” was the lead single off of Houston’s second album and the pop song helped the late singer earn a Grammy. Katy Perry decided to cover the song during her 2011 world tour. Unfortunately, Perry fell flat and couldn’t quite pull off the song but luckily for her, she had a lot of other people and things going on around her while onstage to help distract the audience from how bad she sounded.


Whitney Houston has inspired artists of all genres. It seems like EDM is all of the rage now and Chvrches, a Scottish electronic group, put their own spin to a Houston song that isn’t usually covered. The band appeared on BBC 1 Radio with host Zane Lowe for an interview and live performance session. In addition to playing a few of their hits, Chvrches did a special rendition of “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay.”

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