ll Cool J And Whitney Houston

February 13, 2012 by staff 

ll Cool J And Whitney Houston, Host LL Cool J tracked the Grammy ceremony between a memorial for Whitney Houston and a celebration of the year’s top music.

Sunday night’s Grammy telecast can’t be allowed to fade away before someone sends a shoutout to host LL Cool J – without whom the show could have exploded from its own unavoidable schizophrenia.

The death of Whitney Houston some 24 hours before showtime made these Grammys different from all other Grammys, as has been noted everywhere, and left the producers almost no time to figure out how to integrate what was on everyone’s mind into what they had spent several months carefully planning.

Jennifer Hudson singing “I Will Always Love You” was the right touch. If there’d been more time, a rousing medley of “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” would also have worked.

But there wasn’t more time, so the producers wisely decided the best way to “find a balance,” as executive producer Ken Ehrlich put it Monday, was to acknowledge Houston’s death up front.

“We didn’t want to let this one thing take over the show,” he said – and not talking about it quickly would have had precisely that effect.

What they did decide to leave up front was Bruce Springsteen, even though he comes from a very different part of New Jersey than Whitney Houston.

Had everything gone as planned, Bruce would have given a roaring jump-start to a show that has become more a concert than an awards presentation.

Sunday night, however, someone had to follow Bruce by acknowledging a tragedy, and that someone was LL, the host.

He didn’t sign on for this. He was signed to be Ryan Seacrest – not a Billy Crystal kind of host who does his own shtik, but one who keeps everything moving with economical banter, superlatives and a big smile.

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