by Sandy Cohen
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jennifer Hudson embodied the look of one of her idols, Whitney Houston, during a tribute to the late singer put on by Grammy organizers.
|WHITNEY TRIBUTE–Jennifer Hudson performs onstage at “We Will Always Love You: A Grammy Salute to Whitney Houston,” at Nokia Theatre on Oct. 11, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Rocking a pompadour and glittery jacket reminiscent of Houston’s stage costumes from the 1980s, Hudson belted out a medley of Houston’s hits Thursday at the Nokia Theatre for “We Will Always Love You: A Grammy Salute to Whitney Houston,” which will air as a TV special next month.
“She has been a huge part of my life musically,” Hudson said. “She’s just been like this outline, this blueprint for myself.”
Britney Spears, LL Cool J, Halle Berry, Taraji P. Henson, Usher, CeCe Winans and Yolanda Adams also participated in the musical tribute.
Spears said she’s always been “a huge fan” of Houston’s.
“I think she’s amazing,” Spears said. “And I think that her voice is better than God. I just, I love her.”
Houston died at 48 the night before the Grammy Awards in February from accidental drowning complicated by drug use and heart disease. LL Cool J honored her at the awards ceremony in February but said Thursday that the singer’s musical contributions merit more.
“The time that we spent remembering Whitney at the Grammys wasn’t really enough for her career,” he said. “Even though it was wonderful, and I got to say the prayer, and I got to address her death, her career was larger than just a few segments. You need a whole show to celebrate a career like Whitney Houston’s.”
The tribute is set to air as an hour-long special on CBS Nov. 13.
T.D. Jakes, a minister and producer of Houston’s final film, “Sparkle,” said Houston’s early death can serve as a sad cautionary tale.
“Our message and our heart’s cry to young people is to really govern the choices that they make, and that those choices have consequences, long term consequences,” he said. “It is not enough to be talented. We must also be wise.”
Anita Bennett contributed to this report for The Associated Press.
(AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen is on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/APSandy.)