Grammy Host LL Cool J Leads Prayer For Whitney Houston

'It affects the tone overall,' host tells MTV News on the red carpet.

Whitney Houston is set to be honored at the 2012 Grammy Awards on Sunday night, when Jennifer Hudson and Chaka Khan take the stage to pay tribute to the fallen star, who died suddenly and tragically Saturday in Los Angeles.

Before Khan and Hudson took the stage, host LL Cool J kicked off the show with prayer, a heartwarming moment in which attendees like Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift bowed their heads in homage to Houston and her undeniable contributions to pop music.

MTV News had the pleasure of speaking to Grammys host LL Cool J on the red carpet, and he shed some light on the conversations that went down before Sunday’s big show as producers scrambled to fit a tribute to the star into the show.

“We were up all night, and we just wanted to figure out [and] show Whitney Houston the love, the appreciation, the love, the respect she deserves based on her as a human being and the career that she had and give her that love and make sure that people know we care,” LL explained. “And we are connected to her in that way.”

But LL noted that while Houston deserves love at the show, producers also want to make sure that every artist involved with Sunday’s broadcast gets the attention they deserve as well. “At the same time, there are so many other artists here that are nominated. This is a new Grammy experience for some of them, some are back again, and they deserve to have a good time and enjoy themselves and not be weighed down by the burden,” noting that it was “about finding a balance. I think we got it right. We’re gonna find out.”

As for his own responsibilities as a host, he explained, “It affects it. It affects how I open. It affects the tone overall. We’re not gonna get here and then change the rules on the artist; we’re gonna celebrate her life… and then give them room so that they can go out there and do what they do.”

Speaking about the tribute, Grammy executive producer Ken Ehrlich said in a statement, “It’s too fresh in everyone’s memory to do more at this time, but we would be remiss if we didn’t recognize Whitney’s remarkable contribution to music fans in general, and in particular her close ties with the Grammy telecast and her Grammy wins and nominations over the years.”

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