12:31pm PT by Shirley Halperin
About Last Night: Whitney Houston and 'X Factor's' Stacy Francis Clash at Pre-Grammy Party
X Factor fans may recall that season 1 finalist Stacy Francis had a bit of a brush with fame on her way to TV stardom.
Back in 1999, the then relatively unknown singer, who had a few professional credits to her name, like a cast role on Broadway's Footloose, was brought up on stage during a Whitney Houston concert. According to American Idol season 8 semifinalist Nick Mitchell, who was in the audience, Houston introduced Francis as, "A very successful singer from New York City who’s currently on Broadway," after which he described, "Stacy came onstage and she shooped those high C notes like Mariah Carey-style, the place went insane.”
But when two divas were reunited on Thursday night at a pre-Grammy event hosted by singer Kelly Price at TRU Hollywood-- dubbed Kelly Price & Friends Unplugged: For the Love of R&B -- the scene wasn't nearly as friendly. According to a source, after Francis performed an Etta James tribute and Houston joined Price on stage, the two were reintroduced in the VIP section. "It didn't seem like Whitney remembered her, but she was cordial at first."
The scene changed minutes later when R&B star Ray J, who Francis had met over the years, stepped into the conversation. "Whitney just got belligerent," an eyewitness tells The Hollywood Reporter. "Ray was trying to defend Stacy, telling Whitney, 'Stacy's family!', but Whitney was feeling crowded out and hands were raised."
Fortunately, the situation was diffused without any punches thrown, but says the source, "You didn't know which way it could go there for a minute."
When contacted by THR, Francis didn't deny that the incident happened, but would only say, "I have the utmost respect for Whitney Houston and her talent."
Houston is next expected to make an appearance at Saturday's Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala at the Beverly Hilton, where she was spotted earlier in the day on Thursday.
See a snippet of Houston on stage with Price below: