Divas may not be known for playing well with others, but there’s one thing on which they can all agree: Whitney Houston was their queen. And at last night’s VH1 Divas concert, the grand dame of divadom got a fitting tribute from a trio of young upstarts. Of course, none of those ladies sounded quite as wonderful as Whitney in her prime — but the number was moving and groove-worthy all the same.
After an introduction courtesy of Brandy — who played the title character to Houston’s Fairy Godmother in 1997’s Cinderella — American Idol winner Jordin Sparks kicked things off with “I’m Every Woman.” As colored lights glinted on a giant, crystal-encrusted “WHITNEY” sign, the song bled into Grammy-winner Melanie Fiona’s joyous take on “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” which she sang while leading a crowd of dancers through a psyched-looking audience. Once she reached the stage, Fiona switched gears for a few verses of “It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay” — paving the way for the jazzy soul singer Ledisi, who couldn’t quite hit all of “How Will I Know”‘s punishing high notes.