Ariana Grande tributed her childhood idol Whitney Houston during her performance at the Greatest Hits season finale on Thursday night. The 23-year-old stepped on stage dressed in a head-to-toe ’80s ensemble featuring crimped hair, fishnet stockings, and over-the-knee boots. Even her trademark sky-high ponytail was styled much like Houston would in that era.
Grande treated the ABC audience to two songs by the late Houston including 1985’s How Will I Know from her debut album and 1992’s Queen of the Night from The Bodyguard album.
She shared her excitement on Twitter ahead of the performance:
“honored to be paying homage to my angel tonight. tune in to @greatesthitsabc at 9 ♡ #greatesthits #whitneyhouston ”
Other performances of the night included Celine Dion (live via satellite from Montreal) who dedicated My Heart Will Go On to her late husband René Angelil, Adam Lambert who performed a rendition of George Michael’s Faith, Smash Mouth were joined by Hunter Hayes for a performance of their biggest hit Rock Star, and rapper Nelly jammed to Hot in Herre.
There’s still no official word from the network whether the musical show hosted by Arsenio Hall and Kelsea Ballerini will return for a second season, but ratings for the series ended on a high note. They ended third in their time slot behind Big Brother and American Ninja Warrior.