Whitney Houston has “140 million albums sold, more awards than any other female performer in history,” boasted Good Morning America today, touting her “first television performance in seven years” (watch it on their Website). The singer bounded out with a lot of energy and yelled “love you!” during first line of “Million Dollar Bill,” but she danced rather than sang the first chorus, confirming yesterday’s reports that her first major television appearance promoting her new I Look to You left the diva breathless. Houston filmed the short set in New York’s Central Park yesterday afternoon.
“I love you New York,” she announced at end of the song. “I love you Good Morning America. God bless you all. Thank you for coming, you’re making me feel so good.” She then ran upstage to hug host Diane Sawyer, who Houston called “one of my dearest friends.” Sawyer is the journalist who conducted the infamous “crack is wack” interview in 2002 during which Houston disclosed she had struggled with drug problems. “I’m overwhelmed with love and support, your prayers mean so much to me and I love you all for coming,” Houston told the crowd, adding defiantly, “I never left!”
“Seven years ago, looking in each others’ eyes, it was a very different world then. I was worried for you,” Sawyer told her. “Don’t be worried anymore. If you know God, then don’t be worried,” Houston replied, saying it was “my faith” that brought her here now. “The love and support of my family, which I do have. People who care about you in the good and bad times.” In 2002, Houston told Sawyer, “I partied a lot. Trust me: I partied my tail off. You get to a point where you know the party’s over.”
“I Look to You is about them, all of you all, and that one up there,” she said in Central Park, pointing skyward.
After a commercial break, Houston told the crowd of die-hard fans, “I’m going to do something extra for you, from me to you, this isn’t planned, it’s impromptu,” before starting “My Love Is Your Love.” Singing “See, I got my baby, can you give me a mic, y’all” she welcomed daughter Bobbi Kristina to the stage to sing just a few lines.
“I owe this to my mother. This is the title track to my album, y’all,” Houston said next, before turning to face her mother, Cissy, for the ballad “I Look to You.” “You never left, you stayed, I love you,” she said, looking up with her arms stretched to her sides. After another commercial break she returned bouncing up and down and kicked off “I’m Every Woman,” asking hosts Sawyer and Robin Roberts to join her.
As Rolling Stone reported yesterday, Houston attributed her exhaustion and lack of high notes to having taped her Oprah Winfrey appearance on Monday. Her rep told TMZ Houston had only committed to sing two songs on GMA.