She slayed it. Ariana Grande delivered a breathtaking tribute to the late Whitney Houston on the season finale of ABC’s Greatest Hits on Thursday, August 4. Watch her vocal perfection in the video above!
Grande, 23, belted out a medley of “How Will I Know” (off the late superstar’s 1985 self-titled debut album) and “Queen of the Night” (from the blockbuster 1992 Bodyguard soundtrack).
The “Dangerous Woman” singer dressed the part in retro sunglasses, a pearl choker, black bodysuit, fishnets and over-the-knee silver boots. And of course, she crimped her signature high ponytail for some ’80s flair.
As usual, the pint-sized star’s vocals were seriously impressive. Grande took the stage solo for the first track, but was later joined by a crew of backup dancers for the end of the performance. She strutted her stuff around the stage and added her own twist to Houston’s songs. (She previously delivered a spot-on impersonation of Houston, as well as iconic voices such as Britney Spears, Shakira, Céline Dion and Rihanna on an episode of SNL, and last year she perfectly mimicked Christina Aguilera and Spears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.)
Prior to her performance, she tweeted that she was “honored to be paying homage to my angel tonight.” In a later tweet, she added, “Hope you’re smiling.”
Back in 2013, Grande gushed that Houston was one of her musical icons. “Whitney holds such a special place in my heart. She inspired me to start singing as a little girl,” she told Billboard. “I’d watch The Bodyguard and tell my mom I wanted to do that one day. Her riffs are so precise and I love her tone. She’s my inspiration.”
Greatest Hits premiered earlier this summer, and each episode celebrates the most iconic songs from different time periods. Thursday’s show featured performances from other artists such as Dion, John Legend, Nelly and Sheryl Crow, who all covered songs from 1985 to 2000.