After canceling the first shows of her European tour last week due to a "respiratory infection," Whitney Houston returned to the stage on Tuesday night in Birmingham, England. It did not go so well.
There's plenty of footage of her overall performance that night, and Whitney's a bit shaky during her other numbers — but it was when she moved on to "I Will Always Love You" that things got bad. Maybe she was tired. Maybe she was nervous. Maybe she was just tired of thinking about Kevin Costner. Or maybe, sadly, after years of drugs and alcohol and Bobby Brown, she's simply lost control of her legendary vocal chords. Whatever the case, watching her pause and ready herself for 54 seconds before belting out the song's finale is unsettling — and what follows is simply unfortunate.
Whitney can still sing, obviously. However off-key she may be during her big finish, you can hear that her voice is still strong and lush and full. Just not in the right way.
Contrast this with her original, iconic performance of "I Will Always Love You." (and wow, the video really takes you back).
Or, for even more effect, contrast it with the performance of Lin Yu Chun — Taiwan's Susan Boyle — last week on Taiwan's version of American Idol. After poor Whitney's latest rendition, he pretty much owns the song now.
Whitney Houston - Birmingham 2010 [MeerkatsOfficial's YouTube]
Whitney Houston in Hospital With Nose, Throat Problem [AFP]