Whitney Houston once had it all: the voice of a soul great: the looks of a supermodel and more record sales than any woman bar Celine Dion, Madonna, Tina Turner, Nana Mouskouri and Mariah Carey.
Now, post-marriage and post-crack, all that remains is rubble of a wrecked career. On the evidence of last night’s excruciating, car crash shambles, she may look older than her 46 years and she may be visiting Cleo Laine’s hairdresser, but there is no skirting around this: that fabulous voice is utterly, utterly torn to shreds.
Where once she soared, now she wheezes and croaks, bludgeoning her perfect pop single I Wanna Dance (With Somebody Who Loves Me) into karaoke submission; stripping the moving My Love Is Your Love of all emotion and inflicting grisly carnage on I Will Always Love You (if she is late-period Judy Garland, this is her Over The Rainbow).
“My soprano friend doesn’t wanna come tonight,” she mumbled after missing yet another note. Neither did her contralto or mezzo-soprano “friends“.
The nadir of nadirs came during A Song For You which collapsed halfway through into a rambling, nonsensical discourse (one of many) on Michael Jackson (“I called him… Michael and he called me… Whitney“).
So many people fled mid-show, despite paying up to £100 a ticket, that afterwards there was no 02 transport trauma.
Those who decided that Whitney Houston was capable of undertaking a world tour should hang their heads in shame. A horrible and heartbreaking evening.