March 09, 2012 10:07am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Glee' Sets Eight-Song Whitney Houston Tribute Episode
It's official: Glee will pay tribute to the late Whitney Houston with an hour tribute episode set for the spring, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
Just days after the pop icon's death last month, the Fox hit dedicated its Valentine's Day episode that coincidentally featured Houston/Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" to the singer. Houston died Feb. 11. She was 48.
Producers of the musical dramedy created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk opted to dedicate the hour -- in which Amber Riley belted out the song Houston performed as part of 1992's The Bodyguard -- to the singer, placing a title card at the end of the episode.
As first reported by E! the Houston tribute will feature eight songs from the performer's extensive library and was planned after her death. The hour is said to be a departure from Glee's typical tribute episodes to singers including Madonna, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and Michael Jackson.
Instead, the installment will use Houston's recordings as a way to say goodbye and to "respectfully say thank you" to the late singer," E! reports, noting that the tribute will focus on Glee's graduating seniors -- including Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer, among others -- as they struggle with letting go.
Glee music supervisor P.J. Bloom told THR the day after Houston's passing that the series would find a way to acknowledge the singer going forward. "If we don't celebrate her in one complete episode," Bloom noted, "I'm sure we'll continue to acknowledge her music in the show."
Glee star Michele hinted that the series was planning something special for its remaining Season 3 episodes late Thursday. "Filming something right now that's going to be really special.. Can't wait for you all to see it...," she tweeted.
Riley's cover of "I Will Always Love You" has sold more than 45,000 digital copies, placing it among Glee's record 193 Hot 100 singles.
An official air date for the Houston tribute has not yet been determined.
What do you think about Glee's plans to pay its respects to Houston? Too soon? Glee returns from its winter hiatus on April 10.