- Published on Tuesday, May 22 2012
- Written by Katie Marzullo
This past weekend, in a stirring tribute that brought many to tears, Jordin Sparks performed Whitney Houston’s iconic “I Will Always Love You” at the Billboard Music Awards. Whitney’s own daughter, Bobbi Kristina, was heard to say that no one other than Jordin could have pulled it off.
There’s probably a very good reason for that. Jordin, unquestionably talented in her own right, has the dubious distinction of being a part of one of Whitney’s last creative endeavors before her death in February – the upcoming film Sparkle. Set in the ‘60s, the movie revolves around a singing sister act trying to hit it big, with Jordin playing one of the singers and Whitney playing her mother, whose own singing career was cut short. In addition to co-starring together, Jordin and Whitney also recorded a song for the film, entitled “Celebrate”, which has just been released.
As the final recording that Whitney ever made, it’s bittersweet. It’s great to hear her in the studio again, doing an uplifting song that’s so reflective of her career. However, it’s tough to imagine that it’s even the same artist. Her voice is a mere shadow of her former strength and glory, having been ravaged by years of hard living. It’s hard to objectively think why someone would deliberately sabotage their instrument, the conduit through which they make their living, but we can’t fully understand until we walk in their shoes. Still, this is hard to listen to. Jordin sounds great, of course – clear, strong, youthful. A stark contrast to Whitney, who sounds gravelly and tired… no where near the same quality that belted out “I Will Always Love You” all those years ago. It sounds like a woman who has given up, and that makes me sad.
Still, we can take heart in the message of the song – rising above the pitfalls of life and forging ahead, inviting the good in. And judging by the trailer, it looks like Whitney never lost her acting chops. Definitely something to celebrate.
Take a listen to the song, written by R. Kelly(!), below, followed by the trailer for the film:
Sparkle hits theatres August 17.
- Katie Marzullo, YH Staff Editor
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