The video: Whitney Houston was found dead in her Beverley Hills hotel room on Saturday, shortly before she was scheduled to sing at a pre-Grammy Awards gala thrown by music mogul Clive Davis. Her impromptu final performance came two nights earlier at another Grammy-related party hosted by R&B singer Kelly Price. Houston, 48, took the stage briefly Thursday night for a surprise duet with Price, singing part of the gospel standard "Yes, Jesus Loves Me." (Watch below)
The reaction: Drugs and alcohol took their toll on Houston's "once-in-a-generation voice" since her heyday in the 1980s and '90s, says Dan Good in the New York Post. But "hints of Houston's greatness still remained" in her too-short final performance. She could still sing, says Sasha Brown-Worsham in The Stir, but "there is something so haunting" about her "obviously ravaged and hoarse" voice. Fame alone didn't make Houston squander her immense talent, but it's telling, and heartbreaking, that her swan song "is overpowered by the voices of her fans screaming, wanting more than she had to give." Watch Houston's last song, and last bow:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- What the Middle Ages can tell us about the GOP's big charity myth
- Why is the Pentagon stuffing caves in Norway full of tanks?
- 10 things you need to know today: October 24, 2014
- The U.S. is about to sell weapons to Vietnam. That's bad news for China.
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Did the media get Ferguson wrong?
- An open letter to #brands about Gamergate
- 'Having it all' has officially jumped the shark
Subscribe to the Week