Grammys 2012: A Prayer for Whitney Houston Opens the Show

Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift were among the A-list music stars to bow their head during host LL Cool J's opening comments.

The opening to the 54th annual Grammy Awards was supposed to be about the everyman, as "We Take Care of Our Own," Bruce Springsteen's new single, clearly addresses. But it felt more like a cautionary tale in light of Whitney Houston's death. Perhaps the industry could have done more to save a life and one precious voice.  

"There is no way around this," host LL Cool J remarked. "We’ve had a death in our family."

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As A-list music stars looked on from the front row, the rapper played preacher for a moment, telling the more than 10,000 gathered at L.A.'s Staples Center, "For me, the only thing that feels right begins with a prayer -- for a woman who we loved. For our fallen sister, Whitney Houston."

As the likes of Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift bowed their heads, LL Cool J continued: "Today our thoughts are with her mother, her daughter and all of her loved ones. We are truly blessed to be touched by her beautiful music."

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The touching moment was an appropriate start, but LL Cool J made sure to remind the millions watching that it is a night of celebration. "The power of music is what brings us all here," he said, giving a shout-out to "Sir OG Paul McCartney... This night is about something much bigger than any one of us. It’s about something truly universal and healing. This night is about music."

Twitter: @shirleyhalperin