American Idol’s last remaining contestants offered a great show last night, as song choices were limited to Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston hits.
Jessica Sanchez created shock and awe in equal measure when she brought the house down with Whitney Houston’s greatest hit, I Will Always Love You.
Joshua Ledet did kick off the show with an incredible performance of I Wish, but Elise Testone brought the mood down when she failed horribly with I’m Your Baby Tonight.
“Whitney’s a beast,” Jennifer Lopez stated oddly, though it was clear to understand what she meant despite the odd choice of metaphor.
Whitney Houston’s vocals seemed insurmountable to the spirited young girls struggling desperately to emulate her.
A similar fate befell Shannon Magrane, who was understandably having trouble catching her breath throughout I Have Nothing.
“I think your nerves got the best of you, baby,” Steven Tyler told Shannon Magrane.
“You kind of crashed and burned.”
Jeremy Rosado’s beautiful voice struggled last night on Ribbon in the Sky, which was the song Stevie Wonder himself sung at Whitney Houston’s funeral last month and therefore probably doomed to failure by comparison.
Even “gentle giant” Jermaine Jones was nitpicked for “forcing” the chorus on Knocks Me Off My Feet.
Heejun Han turned in an adequate All in Love Is Fair, and Colton Dixon ably sailed through Lately, looking every bit the pin-up.
“The song started out shaky for me, but by the last eight bars, you were flawless,” critiqued Randy Jackson, who said that Colton had the most trouble staying on pitch when he was singing “soft and low”.
Jessica Sanchez created shock and awe in equal measure when she brought the house down with Whitney Houston's greatest hit, I Will Always Love You
Jessica Sanchez and Hollie Cavanagh fared the best.
Jessica Sanchez had a surprisingly good performance of Whitney Houston’s best-known hit, I Will Always Love You, while Hollie Cavanagh gave a heartening performance of All the Man That I Need.
Randy Jackson told Jessica Sanchez that it was one of the most difficult songs to sing and that she was the best “vocal of the night and one of the best vocal talents” in America.
While Steven Tyler added: “You may be the one. You just made 40 million people cry.”
Skylar Laine turned Where Do Broken Hearts Go into a lilting country ballad which worked better for this personal touch, though Jennifer Lopez felt she got “nasally” despite her offering the “biggest moment of the night” up to that point.
While Erika Van Pelt on I Believe in You and Me gave the judges goosebumps.
DeAndre Brackensick showed a different side of his voice with a reggae version of Master Blaster and was praised for his “Jamaican patois” by Steven Tyler.
Phillip Phillips gave Superstition a rock makeover.
The first elimination will run a little differently than in year’s past.
On tomorrow’s show, host Ryan Seacrest will announce the boy and the girl who got the least votes, then let the judges pick which one stays and which goes.
Tina Brown, Whitney Houston’ sister in law and Bobby Brown’ sister, gave an ample interview to National Enquirer and explained how the late singer’s career spiraled out of control.
Whitney Houston spent days locked in her bedroom amid piles of garbage smoking crack, her sister in law remembered.
When Whitney Houston got high, she imagined the devil was beating her, but she was actually punching herself black and blue with her own fists.
And the star’s beautiful singing voice, ravaged by drugs, was gone.
“I did crack with Whitney,” said Tina Brown, a recovering addict herself.
Tina Brown’s heartbreaking memories of Whitney Houston, who once had the world in her hands, are one shocking revelation after another.
There were the days that Whitney Houston disappeared to languish in dangerous drug dens.
There was the failed attempt at an intervention by her family when a cursing Whitney Houston nearly leaped from a second-story window trying to escape.
There were the drug-induced delusions Whitney Houston had of hidden surveillance cameras watching her every move.
Tina Brown’s drug partner days with Whitney Houston occurred when the star and Bobby Brown lived in the posh Country Club of the South in Alpharetta, Georgia, and she remembers the day she and her sister-in-law first got high.
In her own words Tina Brown explained: “It was February 21, 2004. The reason why I know this date is because February 20 is my birthday.”
“We were drinking a lot,” said Tina Brown.
“I passed out on the couch but I wake up about six in the morning. I went into Whit¬ney’s bedroom. All Whitney was wearing was her mink coat and a pair of furry boots, her usual garb.”
Whitney Houston suggested they call dealers. “Call them,” Tina Brown recalls.
What followed was a re¬lationship forged by drugs. Although Tina Brown had known Whitney Houston since her marriage to her brother in 1992, she’d never gotten close to her until that day.
“Hey, I was using and she was paying. It was free,” said Tina Brown.
Tina Brown, Whitney Houston’ sister in law, remembered the singer spent days locked in her bedroom amid piles of garbage smoking crack
That first drug binge went on for roughly 24 days in Whitney Houston’s home. Bobby Brown, no stranger to drugs himself, was serving 60 days in jail at the time for a probation violation on a drunk-driving conviction.
Dealers came and went, delivering marijuana, powder cocaine and crack. And it was during this time that Tina Brown started to realize what drugs had done to Whitney Houston.
“She saw demons when she got high,” recalls Tina Brown.
“She’d point to the floor and say, <<See that demon. I’m telling you somebody’s messing with Bobby>>. ”
One day a stoned Whitney Houston called Tina Brown over to a sink. “A dish had broken and in the cracks of the plate, she saw a pair of smiling lips,” said Tina Brown.
When Whitney Houston got high, she would imagine concealed wires and spy cameras were everywhere.
“She would get a screwdriver and take things apart to find the cameras,” said Tina Brown.
In mid-March, Whitney’s mother Cissy Houston, who’d attempted many times to free her daughter from the grip of drugs, knew it was time to try again.
When Cissy Houston and other family members arrived at the home, Tina Brown was sweeping the foyer while Whitney was in her upstairs bedroom, getting high.
“I opened the door and the cars pull up, black cars. The driver gets out and opens the door for Cissy. Then, here comes Gary, Whitney’s brother.”
Tina Brown tried to close the door. She yelled up to Whitney Houston, using the singer’s shortened nickname, Nip.
“I yelled, <<Nip they’re down here>>. ”
“Don’t let them in,” Whitney Houston screamed.
It was too late.
“I did not want them to see what she’d be doing up there but her mother came up there and she seen it. And it’s a disas¬ter, paraphernalia everywhere.”
Tina Brown said Cissy Houston gave Whitney an ultimatum. Get into rehab or she was going to take her daughter Bobbi Kristina away from her or have her locked up.
Bobby Brown’ sister could hear Whitney Houston cursing at her mother as security gathered up Bobbi Kristina and put her in a car. Tina Brown got into another. They were to be taken to a nearby hotel.
That’s when all hell broke loose as a stoned-out Whitney Houston made a desperate bid to escape the intervention.
“Whitney tried to jump out the window, her bedroom window on the second floor,” said Tina Brown. “She has her white bag and one of her legs over the window.
“She’s screaming: <<Tina, don’t you leave me. Catch my bag>>.
“I said: <<Nip, don’t jump. Come on, there’s nowhere you can go>>.”
The whole intervention team checked into rooms for the night and promised to regroup in the morning. Whitney Houston and Tina Brown were in one suite together. They got high all day long.
Before they fell off to sleep, the two were laughing so hard about Whitney Houston’s antics, the singer peed herself.
Tina Brown said that one of her older children is handicapped and uses pull-up diapers. She had a pair in her purse. Whitney Houston found them and put them on.
That’s when the laughter stopped. Tina Brown saw something that frightened her to the bone – black and blue bruises up and down Whitney Houston’s legs.
Tina Brown cried out: “Nip, what the hell!”
Whitney Houston’s answer frightened Tina Brown even more.
“The devil be hitting me,” said Whitney Houston. “I walked by and he just go bam.”
Tina Brown said: “No, Nip. That’s not the devil. That’s you. I mean there was black and blue all up and down her legs. I said, <<Does Bobby know this?>> She said: <<No, no, it’s going to be all right. You know I rebuke the devil. He’s always hitting me>>. But it’s her hitting herself.”
In the morning, Whitney Houston’s relatives saw the bruises too.
“All kinds of psychiatrists came up to the hotel room. And she went off with them. It was a big thing about the bruises.”
At the end of that bizarre intervention, Whitney Houston reluctantly agreed to go into outpatient rehab at a center in Smyrna, Georgia, but only if Tina Brown went with her. Whit¬ney Houston would smoke crack before the sessions.
Tina Brown ultimately moved into Whitney Houston’s house, acting in a sort of maid’s capacity after Bobby Brown got out of jail. The drug deliveries continued.
Whitney Houston would purchase eight balls of crack, pieces of rock cocaine weighing an eighth of an ounce each. She’d cut open a cigar, take the tobacco out, put in marijuana and the whole piece of crack and puff away.
In June 2004, Tina Brown was sent to prison for a year for possession of drug paraphernalia and violation of probation. She has a record of arrests for drug offenses.
It was a blessing, Tina Brown says, to be away from Whitney Houston and the nonstop drug use.
Bobby Brown was worried Tina Brown may have been Whitney Houston’s drug partner but at least she was able to keep the singer at home when she binged on drugs.
With Tina Brown in jail, Whitney Houston started to disappear for days at a time, sometimes doing drugs with friends, but other times visiting crack houses in dangerous areas of Atlanta. From jail, Tina Brown remembers calling her mom Carole Brown. Her mother was weeping.
“A drug dealer had called Bobby and said, <<Come get your wife. I’m sick of this bitch. She’s in here peep¬ing out the windows and doing all kinds of s–t in the house>>.”
Tina Brown learned Whitney Houston had been in the drug den for days giving orders to dealers and drug buyers, telling some to leave, telling others where to sit, seeing demons, thinking she was under surveillance. It became too much for the dealer.
“Bobby and security had to go get her,” said Tina Brown.
When Tina Brown was released from prison on June 3, 2005, she was drug-free but that ended July 5, the first time she went over to Whitney Houston’s house.
“I started again. She needed some help in the house and that was it,” Tina Brown recalled.
At that time, Whitney Houston was actually getting ready to cut a single with record producer Jermaine Dupri. It would be the first time she’d entered a studio in years, said Tina Brown.
But Whitney Houston’s beautiful singing voice, the one that sold more than 100 million albums, the one that hit those impossible-to-imagine high notes, was gone.
“It’s horrible. She couldn’t sing anymore,” said Tina Brown.
Still, Tina Brown did her best to get Whitney Houston ready for her studio session.
“She had a machine to get her voice in shape. I’d hook it up and put this liquid in this holder and this breathing device in her mouth. It’s like steam and she had to do these treatments for an hour, three times a day. But she kept doing it just once.
“She put off the studio appearance for like two weeks. They were calling me and I told them, <<You come and get her out of the damn room. I can’t make her go.>>”
Tina Brown’s relationship with Whitney Houston eventually ended. She kept up her own battle to become drug-free and prayed for a Whitney Houston comeback, a day when she’d reach the top once again, but it didn’t happen.
A shocking picture of Whitney Houston’s bathroom took at her home in Atlanta, Georgia, shows how the star’s life spiraled into chaos at the height of her crack addiction.
The deplorable image, shot in 2006, shows a room littered with drug paraphernalia, including a crack-smoking pipe and spoons covered in white powder.
Despite her fame and wealth, Whitney Houston had descended into squalor, her sister in law Tina Brown, who took the photo, revealed at the time.
Drug paraphernalia can be seen in the room, where Whitney Houston holed up for days, according to Tina Brown, the sister of the singer’s husband Bobby Brown.
Whitney Houston, 48, smoked as much as an “eight-ball” (1/8 of an ounce) of crack at a go, blending it with marijuana inside in a cigar wrapper, Tina Brown, also a self-confessed former addict, told the National Enquirer.
Tina Brown said: “The truth needs to come out. Whitney won’t stay off the drugs. It’s every single day. It’s so ugly. Everyone is so scared she is going to overdose.”
A shocking picture of Whitney Houston's bathroom took at her home in Atlanta, Georgia, shows how the star's life spiraled into chaos at the height of her crack addiction
The drugs made Whitney Houston so paranoid she saw evil apparitions and once drilled a spy hole in her bathroom to keep an eye out for demons, Tina Brown claimed.
Whitney Houston at one time claimed she didn’t do crack, telling Diane Sawyer in 2002 that she made too much money to ever take the street drug. “Crack is whack,” she famously declared.
But her stunning looks later seemed to be ravaged by her habit.
And although Whitney Houston subsequently got clean, recording a comeback album in 2009, the years of abusing her body also took their toll on her voice.
At her comeback tour in Australia in 2010, Whitney Houston shocked fans when she had to take a 20 minute break to rest her voice.
Whitney Houston was set to make a return to the big screen later this year having filmed Sparkle, due to hit cinemas August 10. But the pressure to succeed was overwhelming.
“Her voice was ruined, and her comeback wasn’t what it was supposed to be, because her voice wasn’t what it used to be,” a friend told People.
Whitney Houston “was in pain from all the pressure she was facing”, the source said.
“I know from when she was recording her most recent album – her comeback album (I Look to You in 2009) – her voice was shot. That bothered her.”
“In the music industry, you’re only as good as your last hit, even if you are Whitney Houston. Then she had people gossiping about her … It was a lot to deal with.”
Whitney Houston had blown a massive fortune, earned over decades of royalties and concert tours on her drug habit and was “broke as a joke”, it was last week claimed.
“Whitney’s fortune is gone,” a source told Radar last week.
“Music industry heavy hitters are supporting her and her label is fronting her cash against her next album, but no one knows when that will be released.”
“She might be homeless if not for people saving her. She is broke as a joke.”
The legendary singer had been reduced to begging friends for help.
“She called someone to ask for $100,” the source said.
“It is so sad. She should have Mariah Carey money, and she’s flat broke.”