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Posted at 12:25 AM ET, 02/13/2012

Jennifer Hudson’s emotional Whitney Houston Grammy tribute

In a Grammy ceremony tinged with sadness and mourning for Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson delivered an elegant and simple tribute to the late singer, performing “I Will Always Love You” before a silent but appreciative crowd.

Though there was no time to prepare the type of performance that Houston’s legacy demanded, the rendition of the hit song, which Houston made famous in “The Bodyguard,” was a poignant tribute. Though Hudson appeared nervous, her performance was almost universally praised.

Hudson’s performance came after a montage of departed musicians, ending with Houston. She stood in silhouette below an image of Houston and ended the song with the ad-lib, “Whitney, we love you.” Looking emotional, she exited quickly after the song was over. There were reports that Hudson broke down sobbing in rehearsals for what will surely be one of the most memorable performances of her lifetime, but she was able to remain composed throughout the performance.

Hudson has long been compared to Houston. Earlier in the evening, on the red carpet, host L.L. Cool J said of Hudson: “She is obviously a different singer, different diva, but she’s the closest thing we have now to Whitney.”

More on the 2012 Grammy Awards:

Grammy’s slim down but there’s more fat to cut

Everything you need to know about the Grammys

Celebrity reactions on Twitter

Clive Davis’s pre-Grammy party: Should it have gone on?

The Roots pay tribute to Whitney Houston at pre-Grammy jam session

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Grammy Awards honor Whitney Houston

By  |  12:25 AM ET, 02/13/2012

 
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