Don’t call it a tribute.
Aretha Franklin is on the mend in Detroit — and decidedly not dying — from an undisclosed medical condition, so when she was approached by Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich about a celebration of her career, she gave her blessing under the terms that it would not be billed as a tribute.
No, her show-opening medley was just a shout-out. And a good one at that. Jennifer Hudson, Christina Aguliera, Yolanda Adams, Martina McBride and Florence Welch (of Florence and the Machine) lined up like the von Trapp children and tackled timeless Franklin tunes like “Respect,” “Think,” and “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves.”
Aguilera did her best to redeem her National Anthem botching, but it was Hudson who stole the show. That is until Aretha appeared in a pre-taped message. She closed the performance with a sincere thank you from her home, looking healthy and, might we add, a little trimmer.
“I wish I could have been with you all tonight,” she notes, “but next year?”