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Viola Davis reminded us “it was this week 25 years ago that we all fell in love with Whitney Houston,” and then introduced Aguilera, calling her “another singer with a mesmerizing voice,” who performed songs from the film’s Grammy-winning soundtrack. The fan-favorite medley included some of Houston’s biggest hits, including “I Will Always Love You,” “I Have Nothing,” Run to You” and “I’m Every Woman.”
Earlier in the show, host Tracee Ellis Ross predicted Aguilera’s tribute will be “one of American Music Awards’ most iconic performances.”
Aguilera took a pitch-black stage to kick off her act. As the music of “I Will Always Love You” escalated, so did the stage lights and the incessant cheering from the audience. The curtain rose and Aguilera receded upstage to reveal a full band performing in front of two large screens showcasing scenes from “The Bodyguard” to accompany the musical tribute.
To begin “I’m Every Woman,” Aguilera invited a full choir to accompany her onstage and encouraged the audience to sing along. She even paid a personal tribute to Houston during her performance, shouting, “I love you, Whitney!” between lines and a final “thank you Whitney Houston for being the best inspiration ever,” as her curtain closed.
The camera closed in on stars like Nick Jonas, who nodded along with a smile on his face, while Chrissy Metz proudly belted and danced along with the troop onstage.
Even Pink, who previously had “beef” with the pop star and whom cameras cut to multiple times during the performance, enjoyed it, tweeting, “Christina fucking killed it tonight for one of our favorite singers ever. This is about Whitney, and I am in awe of Christina’s talent.” She then asked all of the “negative Nancy’s” who were still caught up in the feud to look at “the clip where [she’s] in tears.”
The film hit the big screen in 1992 and was a box-office hit. Houston made her acting debut alongside co-star Kevin Costner. The movie’s soundtrack was released prior to the film and is the top-selling soundtrack of all time.
Aguilera takes on this honor for the late Houston, who won 22 AMAs in her lifetime, securing Houston as the most awarded female vocalist of all time.
Watch The Bodyguard tribute here.
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