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With a cover of Whitney Houston/Dolly Parton‘s “I Will Always Love You” set to be included in the Tuesday, Feb. 14, episode of Glee, producers of the Fox musical dramedy on Saturday were mulling whether to add a tribute to the late singer during the episode.
The song, which Houston covered in 1992, will be a big number in Tuesday’s Glee, with Amber Riley‘s Mercedes set to perform it as she struggles to decide between ex Sam (Chord Overstreet) and current boyfriend Shane (LaMarcus Tinker).
A spokesman for 20th Television, the studio behind Glee, told The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday that the Valentine’s Day-themed episode, titled “Heart,” had been finished and delivered to the network on Friday, with Glee producers currently considering going back into the episode to pay tribute to Houston, who died Saturday. A title card possibly dedicating the episode to Houston or acknowledging her passing following the episode would seem an easy addition.
Written by Parton in 1973 and released as a single the following year, the song was covered by Houston for the 1992 feature film The Bodyguard, in which she starred opposite Kevin Costner. Houston’s rendition spent 14 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, a record at the time, and surpassed her previous record for 1986’s “Greatest Love of All” from her debut album. Houston’s version went on to win Grammys for record of the year and best female pop vocal performance.
Glee music supervisor P.J. Bloom told THR on Sunday at the music supervisors brunch that the Fox series will be among the first to inadvertently pay tribute to the late pop icon.
“We chose to do the song and [Glee co-creator] Ryan Murphy chose to do the song to honor one of the greate hits of all time. Obviously we could not predict the unfortunately circumstances that happened this weekend but at the same time instead of focusing on the dark stuff, it’s nice to have an opportunity to hear her in this way and celebrate the magic that Whitney brought to this industry.
“I hope where ever Whitney is she’s excited to see it happen,” he added.
As for plans to do a Houston-themed episode, Bloom said that remains to be seen.
“We’ll see. As soon as the news hit, I texted Ryan and said, ‘We should do something.’ Whether he chooses to want to take that celebration past our show Tuesday when we do ‘I Will Always Love You,’ I couldn’t say,” Bloom said. If we don’t celebrate her in one complete episode, I’m sure we’ll continue to acknowledge her music in the show.”
Houston died Saturday. She was 48.
Listen to Riley’s Glee cover above. Glee airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on Fox.
With reporting by Portia Medina.
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