Whitney Houston died on the eve of the mainstream music world’s biggest night: the Grammy Awards.
The documentary “A Death in the Family: The Show Must Go On,” which premiered Monday at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, gives a behind-the-scenes look at how the show pulled together its tribute to Houston in about 24 hours.
It features interviews with executive producer Ken Ehrlich and host LL Cool J, who said he suggested the show open with a prayer. Jennifer Hudson, who was asked to perform “I Will Always Love You” during the show, said in the documentary she wasn’t sure if she could get through the song. (She did, with elegance.)
The 30-minute documentary, which features some NSFW language, can be viewed here,
In addition to Houston’s passing, the documentary also explains how the show’s finale jam session with Sir Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Joe Walsh and Dave Grohl came together.
Springsteen, for example, was asked to play at the last minute at the behest of McCartney. The rocker said he told the Beatle, “I’ve been waiting since 1964 for you to ask.”
The Associated Press’s Sandy Cohen rightly noted that the documentary is a “not-so-subtle push for Emmy votes.” Even so, it’s a worthwhile watch for anyone who, on the evening of Feb. 11, 2012, wondered how the Grammys would handle the death of one of music’s biggest stars.