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maandag 13 februari 2012

Rosemary Conley exits 'Dancing On Ice'

Rosemary Conley exits 'Dancing On Ice'

Rosemary Conley has become the sixth celebrity to leave this year's series of Dancing On Ice.

The 64-year-old was eliminated after failing to impress with her Valentine's Day routine, landing in the bottom two alongside Chemmy Alcott when judges' scores and viewer votes were combined.

After the skate-off, the panel of Louie Spence, Katarina Witt and Robin Cousins praised both stars for having improved on their original routines, but unanimously elected to save Alcott.

However, Spence went on to describe Conley as "an inspiration" and "a true lady", while Witt added: "You know that you had my admiration from the first second."

Speaking to hosts Phillip Schofield and Christine Bleakley after the result, the fitness guru praised her professional partner Mark Hanretty for all his effort.

"I've loved every second and this young man is a new best friend in my life," she said. "He's brought the best out fo me. I just want to thank you for being the best coach and nicest person that God put on this earth."

Addressing show mentors Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, she continued: "They are such an inspiration and I don't think people at home realise how much you do to make the show how it is, because you are both legends."

Tonight's edition of the show saw Jennifer Ellison cut her head open with a skate during her live routine.

Dancing On Ice returns next Sunday (February 19) at 6.05pm on ITV1.

Simon Cowell Confirms He Was Considering Whitney Houston as 'X Factor' Judge

Simon Cowell Confirms He Was Considering Whitney Houston as 'X Factor' Judge

During a discussion of the singer's sudden death on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight," the reality mogul confirmed THR's report Friday that he was indeed considering Houston for one of the slots vacated by Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger.

Simon Cowell called into CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight on Saturday evening to talk about the sudden passing of Whitney Houston -- and also confirmed The Hollywood Reporter's news that he was considering Houston as an X Factor judge.

"The rumors that had got back to us ... and that's often what happens when people want to be on these shows, somebody tells someone to get the word out, it's normally a sign that they are interested," Cowell told Piers Morgan, suggesting that Houston could have expressed interest in joining the Fox series.

Show insiders tell THR that Houston had indeed expressed interest in the potential gig and was actively campaigning for it.

Cowell said that Houston's name was among those discussed and conversations about potential additions were to take place the day after the Grammy Awards.

"We were ironically going to meet on Monday and of course, one of the names we were going to be talking about in that meeting as a possible mentor on the new series of X Factor was going to be Whitney Houston," he said.

Cowell added, "Given the choice, I would have liked to have taken her under my wing as well, because she would have been the ultimate, ultimate mentor to any contestant coming on the show."

The former American Idol judge was upset by Houston's sudden passing.

"I am absolutely devastated by this news," Cowell said. "I am so sad for her. She was undoubtedly one of the greatest superstars of all time. One of the greatest voices in our time we're likely ever to hear."

On Friday, sources told THR that Houston could be joining X Factor on the judges panel for its second season after host Steve Jones and judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger were ousted. Houston performed on the U.K. version in October 2009.

NBC News' 'Dateline' Examines 1999 Murder Conviction

NBC News' 'Dateline' Examines 1999 Murder Conviction

"A missing blond girl sells, but this shows a dedication by NBC News to break beyond that and allow us to take a guy that nobody knows and investigate his story to find the truth," says Luke Russert of the case of Jon-Adrian Velazquez.

Television has made stars out of aspiring rock stars, squabbling housewives and children of the rich and not-really famous. Now, an inmate in New York’s infamous Sing Sing prison – where Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed in 1953 – is surely hoping a turn in the spotlight will change his life.

Jon-Adrian Velazquez, 36, has been incarcerated at the maximum-security facility on the banks of the Hudson River in Ossining, New York since 1999. He was sent away for 25-to-life for killing a retired cop during a botched robbery at an illegal gambling parlor. There was no physical or DNA evidence and Velazquez’s guilt rested largely on the identification of dubious eye-witnesses, one of whom has recanted. Velasquez was 22 years old when he was convicted of second-degree murder and the father of two baby boys who have grown up without him.

He started writing to Dateline producer Dan Slepian 10 years ago. Slepian’s 2007 hour, In the Shadow of Justice, about a murder at New York’s Palladium nightclub, helped to exonerate two men convicted in that case. Slepian admits he gets hundreds of emails and letters from convicts asking for his help and “I’m innocent” is a predictable refrain of the incarcerated. But Velazquez’s pleas were different.

“There was something about his letters,” says Slepian. “They were articulate, intelligent, emotional, engaging. So I went out to see him.”

Then three and a half years ago, he brought Luke Russert into the story. Russert, then a first-year NBC News correspondent who had just lost his father Tim Russert, a towering figure in TV journalism, was given a handheld camera and began to visit Velasquez at Sing Sing.

The result is the Dateline hour Conviction, which bows Sunday at 7 p.m. on NBC. It is an examination of an imperfect criminal justice system but also of a life unlived and stunted by the tyranny of a prison cell.

But, says Slepian, “We’re not putting this on the air to advocate for his release. We’re putting this on the air to tell a story about someone who says he didn’t get a fair shot and we are demonstrating why he might be telling the truth about that.”

It is Russert’s first full-length news hour amid his duties on the political beat during a particularly helter-skelter GOP primary battle. He says tracking the narration was challenging and time-consuming. And he laughs that since he started working on the story in 2008, he’s lost 20 pounds.

“You can see how long the process takes,” says Russert. “And we’re not anywhere near the end of it.”

Velazquez’s case has attracted the attention of actor Martin Sheen, who made headlines last December when he visited Velazquez in prison and advocated, in a press conference in front of the criminal courthouse in lower Manhattan, for a new trial. “I don’t think there's anybody who's fair-minded who's not going to be outraged by this,” said Sheen at the time. (Dateline cameras filmed Sheen’s visit with Velazquez.)

Velazquez's lawyers, Robert Gottlieb and Celia Gordon, who are interviewed throughout the Dateline hour, hope that the media attention will compel the Manhattan District Attorney’s office to re-open the case.

“I’ve been down this road before,” says Slepian. "I think what we’re advocating for is a fair system. And I don’t think that’s a controversial position.”

Conviction is the kind of long-lead investigation that is increasingly rare in TV news, which has tacked from a mission of public service to the economic realities of bottom-line concerns.

"It’s very much the reality of where journalism is today," says Russert. "A missing blond girl sells. Donald Trump sells. Caylee Anthony sells. But I think this shows a dedication by NBC News to break beyond that and allow us the time and the effort -- and I won’t forget the money, it was not cheap to do this -- to really take a guy that nobody knows and to investigate his story and try to find the truth."

Adds Russert: “As journalists, our first responsibility is to hold those in power accountable. What we’re trying to do is show that this is one of thousands of cases like this. If you’re willing to take the time and do the research, you have a real opportunity to change lives. If this taught me anything it’s that journalism is a powerful tool, especially if you do it in the visual medium that is television. It can touch so many people.”

‘Saturday Night Live’ Inches Up In Ratings

‘Saturday Night Live’ Inches Up In Ratings

Last night’s Saturday Night Live hosted by Zooey Deschanel, with musical guest Karmin and surprise guest Jean Dujardin, drew a 5.0/12 in metered-market households, up 6% from last week.

In the markets with Local People Meters, the show averaged a 3.0/12 in adults 18-49, equaling SNL‘s second highest demo rating this season, only behind the edition that followed the blockbuster NFL Wild Card playoff game.

In addition to the Dujardin skit, scooped by my colleague Mike Fleming SNL‘s highlights included a 3-part parody of Clint Eastwood’s Super Bowl Chrysler commercial.

Chelsea Handler Opens For First Time About Her Teenage Abortion

Chelsea Handler Opens For First Time About Her Teenage Abortion

During a recent interview on Rosie O'Donnell's OWN talk show, the comedienne talked candidly about the factors that led her to this difficult decision at age 16.

Earlier this week, Chelsea Handler talked with Rosie O’Donnell about an abortion she had as teenager.

Before Handler terminated her pregnancy at 16, the comedienne had wanted to become a mother, she said during an appearance on The Rosie Show. Handler’s parents convinced her otherwise.

“You're not having a child right now,” Handler remembered her parents telling her. “This is not what our family's about. You know, you're supposed to create a life for yourself, and we want you to enjoy your life and not be raising a child. And we're certainly not going to raise it for you.”

Handler said it was the right decision, and that she would not have been a good mother.

"You should do whatever you want with your body and you shouldn't let anyone tell you what to do," said Handler, host of E!’s Chelsea Lately. “I have no regret at all.”

Handler’s comments come as the national discussion about abortion has been reinvigorated, thanks to the race for the Republican presidential nomination. All four remaining candidates have touted his pro-life bona fides.

O’Donnell noted that pro-life groups often say abortions ruin women’s lives.

“That’s not the stuff I’ve heard from my friends who have had abortions. It’s not that it ruined their life.” O’Donnell said. “Not that it was a casual thing that they never think about again, but it wasn’t a life-defining negative thing.”

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network Remembers Whitney Houston With Two Hour Special Thursday, February 16 at 9 PM ET/PT

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network Remembers Whitney Houston With Two Hour Special Thursday, February 16 at 9 PM ET/PT

In memory of Whitney Houston, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network will present a special two hour "Remembering Whitney: The Oprah Interview," with the music legend's last in-depth television interview from "The Oprah Winfrey Show" to air this Thursday, February 16 from 9-11 p.m. ET/PT on OWN.

This special television event, what is arguably Houston's most revealing and compelling interview of her career, will be rebroadcast as Winfrey reflects on her personal memories of the iconic superstar and shares with fans the magic of a musical icon who has gone too soon.

In September 2009 for the "The Oprah Winfrey Show" season 24 premiere, Winfrey sat down with Houston for a special one-on-one interview. After nearly seven years since the world heard the music icon's voice, Houston gave an intimate and poignant performance of "I Didn't Know My Own Strength." She shared only with Winfrey the private struggles she tried to hide from public view and discussed openly about her marriage to R&B star Bobby Brown, her struggles with drug abuse and why she retreated from the spotlight. Opening up to Winfrey like never before, Houston also spoke candidly of the day she left her husband, her sorrow over the death of Michael Jackson and her hopes for her future.

'Blue Bloods', 'CSI:NY' win Friday ratings for CBS

'Blue Bloods', 'CSI:NY' win Friday ratings for CBS

CBS won Friday night's ratings battle against ABC thanks to its drama lineup.

The network attracted the most viewers and also brought in the highest adults 18-49 demo rating for the night (1.6), despite A Gifted Man dropping to 8.81 million viewers (1.2) at 8pm.

CSI: NY climbed a tenth to 10.34m (1.7) at 9pm, as did Blue Bloods with 11.77 (1.8) at 10pm.

ABC's Shark Tank climbed to a Friday high with 5.91m (1.8) at 8pm, while What Would You Do also rose slightly to 4.62m (1.5) at 9pm. 20/20 fell to 5.16m (1.4) at 10pm.

NBC's Who Do You Think You Are? levelled with last week's premiere with 5.54m (1.2) at 8pm, while Grimm jumped to 5.24m (1.6) at 9pm.

Fox's Kitchen Nightmares fell slightly to 3.56m (1.5) at 8pm. Fringe dropped to a series low of 3.03m (1.1) at 9pm.

Finally, The CW's Nikita was even with last week with 1.45m (0.5) at 8pm, while Supernatural dropped to 1.86m (0.7) at 9pm.

TV Tonight 13th of February 2012

TV Tonight 13th of February 2012

The daily list in alphabetical order, of all the new episodes airing.

    112 - på liv och död S05E13: "Del 13 av 36"
    2 Broke Girls S01E16: "And the Broken Hearts"
    A Question of Sport S43E09: "February 13, 2012"
    Adventure Time with Finn and Jake S03E26: "Incendium"
    Alcatraz S01E06: "Paxton Petty"
    Alexander Armstrong's Big Ask S02E02: "Series 2, Episode 2"
    American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior S03E01: "Winners and Losers"
    Animal Cops: Houston S09E21: "Emergency"
    Antiques Roadshow (US) S16E07: "Pittsburgh (1)"
    Being Human (US) S02E05: "Addicted to Love"
    Belga Sport S06E02: "KV Mechelen, De aanval op Anderlecht"
    Bizarre Foods S07E04: "Boston"
    Brille S01E05: "Season 1, Episode 5"
    Caged S01E06: "Season 1, Episode 6"
    Cajun Pawn Stars S01E08: "Speed Demons"
    Cajun Pawn Stars S01E07: "Joker's Wild"
    Canadian Pickers S02E06: "The Bet"
    Castle (2009) S04E15: "Pandora"
    Coach Trip S09E11: "Series 9, Day 11"
    Come Dine With Me S18E25: "Series 18, Series 21"
    Conan S02E49: "Ice-T, Coco, Adam Pally, Wale featuring Miguel"
    Cornwall S01E07: "Series 1, Episode 7"
    Coronation Street S53E32: "Mon Feb 13, 2012 [Episode 2]"
    Coronation Street S53E31: "Mon Feb 13, 2012 [Episode 1]"
    Danni Lowinski S03E02: "Optimisten"
    Deal Or No Deal (UK) S07E158: "Episode 1838"
    Der Letzte Bulle S03E02: "Und raus bist du!"
    Dickinson's Real Deal S08E50: "Series 8, Episode 50"
    Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives S13E10: "Old Faves, New Craves"
    Disappeared S04E16: "TBA"
    Dispatches S26E01: "Olympic Tickets for Sale"
    Doctors S13E197: "Perfect Storm"
    EastEnders S28E26: "February 13, 2012"
    Emmerdale S41E37: "February 13, 2012"
    Escape To The Country S12E30: "February 13, 2012"
    Får vi följa med? S01E02: "Del 2"
    Feuten S02E03: "Season 2, Episode 3"
    First Week In S01E07: "TBA"
    Gadget Geeks S01E05: "Series 1, Episode 5"
    General Hospital (US) S49E220: "#12494"
    Gintama S05E45: "Episode 45"
    Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden S22E116: "Season 22, Episode 116"
    Gossip Girl S05E15: "Crazy, Cupid, Love"
    Got to Dance S03E44: "Series 3, Episode 44"
    Halv åtta hos mig S08E13: "Stockholm - Jesper"
    Hart Of Dixie S01E14: "Aliens & Aliases"
    Hawaii Five-0 (2010) S02E16: "I Helu Pu (The Reckoning)"
    Heat Seekers S02E05: "Tampa Bay"
    Hellstrøm Inviterer S01E13: "Fabian Stang"
    Hoarders S05E07: "Kathleen/Scott"
    Hollyoaks S18E31: "February 13, 2012"
    Home and Away (AU) S25E16: "Episode 5451"
    Hotel cæsar S28E150: "Season 28, Episode 150"
    House S08E12: "Chase"
    House Hunters S48E30: "A Place To Party In Atlanta"
    House Hunters International S25E33: "A New Adventure in the Azores"
    House of Anubis S02E52: "House of Laments"
    House of Anubis S02E51: "House of Status"
    How I Met Your Mother S07E16: "The Drunk Train"
    Jeopardy! S28E106: "Show #6311"
    Jimmy Kimmel Live S09E204: "Jeff Goldblum, David Alan Grier, Lana Del Rey"
    Kickin' It S01E17: "Breaking Board"
    Last Call with Carson Daly S10E13: "Christina Milian, K. Flay, Speakers"
    Late Kick Off S03E05: "Series 3, Episode 5"
    Late Night with Jimmy Fallon S02E219
    Late Show with David Letterman S19E25
    Little Mosque on the Prairie S06E06: "Destination Chicken"
    Live with Regis and Kelly S29E120
    Mad S02E19: "My Little War Horse / Tonight Show with Jay Lion-O"
    Mary Shelley's Frankenhole S02E04: "Bram Stoker's Loud Mouths!"
    Mike & Molly S02E15: "Valentine's Piggyback"
    Ministry of Curious Stuff S01E06: "Episode 6"
    Mr. D S01E06: "The Dance"
    Neighbours S28E26: "Episode 6336"
    Oprah's Next Chapter S01E08: "Hasidic Jews of Brooklyn Part 2"
    Pair of Kings S02E20: "Let The Clips Show"
    Panorama S60E05: "Poor America"
    Pasila S05E04: "Cops"
    Playing It Straight (UK) S02E06: "Series 2, Episode 6"
    Pointless S05E115: "Series 5, Episode 115"
    Police Interceptors S04E13: "Series 4, Episode 13"
    Pretty Little Liars S02E20: "CTRL: A"
    Redemption Inc. S01E06: "Season 1, Episode 6"
    Regular Show S03E17: "Butt Dial"
    Royal Marines: Mission Afghanistan S01E03: "Episode 3"
    RuPaul's Drag Race S04E03: "TBA"
    RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked S03E03: "Season 3, Episode 3"
    Skins S06E04: "Franky"
    Smash S01E02: "The Callback"
    Sousei no Aquarion S02E07: "Episode 7"
    The Bachelor S16E07: "Week 7 (S16)"
    The Bad Girls Club S08E04: "TBA"
    The Bold and the Beautiful S25E230: "Ep. #6259"
    The Chase (2009) S05E30: "Series 5, Episode 30"
    The Colbert Report S08E20: "Bill McKibben"
    The Daily Show S17E56: "Fawzia Koofi"
    The Diamond Queen S01E02: "Episode 2"
    The Ellen DeGeneres Show S09E99: "Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Jamie King"
    The Jeremy Kyle Show S07E106: "February 13, 2012"
    The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson S08E26: "Carol Burnett, Phil Keoghan"
    The Lying Game S01E17: "No Country For Young Love"
    The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills S02E23: "Reunion, Part 3"
    The Revolution (2012) S01E21: "Season 1, Episode 21"
    The Rosie Show S01E70: "A Tribute to Tony Bennett
    The Tonight Show with Jay Leno S19E240
    The View S15E104: "Mario Cantone, Sara Ramirez, Karen Gravano"
    The Voice (US) S02E03: "The Blind Auditions, Part 3"
    The Young and the Restless S39E227: "Ep. #9842"
    Thuis S17E121: "Season 17, Episode 121"
    TI & Tiny: The Family Hustle S01E10: "TBA"
    Two and a Half Men S09E16: "Sips, Sonnets And Sodomy"
    University Challenge (1994) S18E40
    Wanted Down Under S06E31: "Series 6, Episode 31"
    Watch What Happens: Live S06E26: "Busy Philipps and David Arquette"
    Whitechapel S03E03: "Series 3, Episode 3"
    WWE Raw S20E07: "Episode #977"
    Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal S01E43

'Apprentice' stars Zoe ­Beresford, Glenn Ward split

'Apprentice' stars Zoe ­Beresford, Glenn Ward split

The Apprentice stars Zoe ­Beresford and Glenn Ward have ended their relationship, it has been revealed.

The pair began dating last January after filming for the seventh series of the reality show had finished.

They subsequently revealed plans to move in together and start a family, but have now split, the Sunday Mirror reports.

Beresford said: "We were like ­soul mates. We even talked about marriage. Glenn used to say to me it wasn't a case of if, but when. I am just feeling devastated and so incredibly hurt that it's ended this way."

"We grew so close. We shared the same sense of humour and even had our own special language with words only we understood.

"He's more image conscious than me and we used to argue ­because he didn't like me going out without make-up or heels. Then he dropped a bombshell - he said he'd never ­really fancied me anyway."

Beresford added that she lost a stone and a half while dating Ward because she felt under pressure to look good and has lost a further stone due the stress of their split.

Ward said that some of Beresford's claims are false, adding: "Zoe and I were very happy while together, but unfortunately it was a relationship that came to a natural end in ­December last year."

In response, Beresford has since tweeted that he cheated on her rather than the relationship naturally ending.

Footballer prank show for ITV

Footballer prank show for ITV

A new hidden camera show starring footballers has reportedly been commissioned.

The ITV1 programme will see the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney and Mario Balotelli play jokes on their fellow players, the Sunday Mirror reports.

Titled Euro Wind-Ups, the show will be aired in June alongside England's European Championship games in Poland and the Ukraine.

Producers are said to be "pulling out all the stops" to secure the biggest names in football to feature in the primetime programme.

Ferdinand could lead the pranks after starring in Rio's World Cup Wind-Ups back in 2006.

"This has the potential to be absolutely massive," a source told the paper.

"A good prank is part of the ­dressing-room culture in the British game, so ­footballers are more than qualified to star in the show."

'Take Me Out' climbs to 5.1m

'Take Me Out' climbs to 5.1m

ake Me Out brought in 5.08m viewers and a 21.7% audience share on Saturday (February 11), a climb of just 100k on last week's show despite a great deal of publicity surrounding one contestant's TV howler in the previous episode.

An extra 263k (1.1%) opted to catch up with the ITV1 dating show an hour later. On ITV2's Take Me Out: The Gossip, the boost was more keenly felt: 815k viewers (3.6%) made it the evening's third most popular multichannel programme behind Doc Martin and Poirot.

The Jonathan Ross Show followed with 2.87m (12.6%) and an additional 267k (1.4%) on timeshift. Earlier on, Harry Hill's TV Burp nabbed 5.14m (22.6%), and the comedian lured a further 236k (1%) at 8.30pm on +1.

BBC One's The Magicians grabbed 4.43m (19.4%) and The National Lottery: Who Dares Wins logged 5.56m (23.6%). Casualty took 5.47m (24.1%) at 9pm.

BBC Two's ratings were lower than one might expect, as the Six Nations rugby match between France and Ireland was cancelled. In its place, Pompeii rustled up just 1.05m (4.5%) at 9pm.

A screening of Crocodile Dundee II on Channel 4 entertained 1.33m (5.8%), and The Million Pound Drop Live boosted the viewer count to 1.81m (8.6%) from 9.20pm.

At 8.15pm, NCIS intrigued 1.13m (4.8%) on Channel 5. CSI followed at 9.10pm with 1.17m (5.1%).

BBC One dominated the primetime schedule with a 22.6% share, handily beating ITV1's 16.5%. Channel 4, BBC Two and Channel 5 were far behind with 6.7%, 5.8% and 5.1% respectively.

TV networks pay tribute to Whitney Houston

TV networks pay tribute to Whitney Houston

Several television networks have made plans to honour the late Whitney Houston.

According to Broadcasting & Cable, tribute programmes will be broadcast today and next week to commemorate the life of the singer and actress, who was discovered dead at the age of 48 on Saturday afternoon.

NBC will broadcast an episode of Dateline about Houston on Sunday at 7pm EST, while VH1 will air a documentary entitled Whitney Houston: Death of a Diva on Monday at 9.30pm. Both programmes will chronicle the singer's life and present updates on the aftermath of her death.

Music channels BET and MTV will also have special programming. BET's popular music countdown show 106 & Park will have air a three-hour memorial episode on Monday at 6pm, and MTV's Grammy red carpet coverage will include reactions and interviews with music celebrities, starting at 5pm today.

Glee's upcoming Valentine's Day episode could be tailored to serve as a tribute to Whitney's long and succesful career in music, and the Lifetime network plans to air Houston's 1992 hit film The Bodyguard, also starring Kevin Costner.

At tonight's Grammy Awards, there will be a special tribute performance by Jennifer Hudson.

The 54th annual Grammy Awards air from 8pm tonight (February 12) on CBS.

Dancing on Ice: skills test, solo skate-off, two eliminated next week

Dancing on Ice: skills test, solo skate-off, two eliminated next week

Two celebrities will leave Dancing on Ice next week after facing one of the biggest challenges in the show's history.

Hosts Phillip Schofield and Christine Bleakley confirmed at the end of tonight's episode that the remaining nine contestants will face an 'Ultimate Skills Test' consisting of 23 required elements, including advanced manoeuvres such as crossovers and spins.

After judges' scores and viewer votes are combined, the three celebrities at the bottom of the leaderboard will for the first time in Dancing on Ice history take part in a skate-off without their professional partners.

Only one of the trio will be saved by the panel of Louie Spence, Katarina Witt and Robin Cousins - leaving just seven still in the running.

Rosemary Conley became the latest celebrity to leave Dancing on Ice after falling into the bottom two with Chemmy Alcott in this week's vote.

Tonight's Valentine's-themed extravaganza saw Jennifer Ellison rush off the ice in agony after cutting her head open with her own skate.

Dancing on Ice continues next Sunday (February 19) at 6.05pm on ITV1.

Grammys Becomes a Houston Tribute: 'We've Had a Death in Our Family'

Grammys Becomes a Houston Tribute: 'We've Had a Death in Our Family'

The Grammy Awards must have had no idea how lucky they were to choose LL Cool J as their host -- the rapper-actor struck exactly the right tone as he honored Whitney Houston without letting her death completely overshadow the ceremony.

Before Houston's death, the biggest question of the night was how Adele would sound after her vocal chord surgery. She put any worries to rest by giving by far the best performance of the night -- as she tends to do -- and taking home four Grammys (as of two hours into the show). Later, Jennifer Hudson delivered another highlight with a performance of "I Will Always Love You" -- a Dolly Parton song that became a hit for Houston.

The ceremony began with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performing the new single "We Take Care of Our Own" -- as the ceremony had planned before Houston's shocking death. And then Cool J took the stage and immediately addressed the elephant in the Staples Center.

"There is no way around this. We've had a death in our family," he said. "And so at least for me, for me, the only thing that feels right is to begin with a prayer for a woman we loved -- for our fallen sister, Whitney Houston."

He then began what seemed like an award show first -- a prayer. Stars from Katy Perry to Blake Shelton bowed their heads as he thanked God "for sharing Whitney with us."

Atheists may not have been happy. But the moment felt right.

And then Cool J -- one of the many rappers who Grammy voters saw not-quite three decades ago as a new and confusing force in music -- subtly lightened the mood. After playing one of Houston's memorable Grammy performances, he promised new ones. He said one would come from "Sir O.G. [Original Gangster] Paul McCartney, my homie."

"O.G. Original Gangster" is an Ice-T song from around his "Cop Killer" days. McCartney is one of the most universally beloved figures in music. Never have hard-core hip-hop and popular culture blended together so seamlessly.

Cool J then he saluted Adele, his "around the way girl" (a reference to one of his own hits) Taylor Swift, and other artists.

Cool J's hosting at first seemed a marriage of convenience -- he stars on "NCIS: LA," which airs on CBS, which also aired the Grammys. But his ability to honor Houston while tactfully keeping the ceremony moving proved a huge asset. He honed his considerable charisma by eventually transitioning from awe-inspiring battle rhymes to winning turns on-screen.

There was no forgetting Houston's death -- and no one wanted to. The intro to a long-planned planned tribute to Etta James by Bonnie Raitt and Alicia Keys was quickly rewritten to honor Houston as well.

But the show soon settled into a familiar rhythym.

The Foo Fighters -- the band that has agreed to gamely fill many a boring ceremony's "indie and edgy" quota -- continued to push the envelope without pushing the envelope at all by performing outside. Dave Grohl wore a Slayer shirt. It was fine.

Moments later, the band won the Best Rock Performance award for "Walk." Grohl noted that the band's latest album was recorded in his garage and said, "It's not about what goes on in a computer. It's about what goes on in here [pointing to his heart] and it's about what goes on in here [pointing to his heart]." Then an LMFAO song played.

And then Ryan Seacrest took the stage to introduce a Beach Boys tribute and performance. If not for Houston's death, a Beach Boys reunion might have been the biggest moment of the night. Long overshadowed by the Beatles and Rolling Stones, the band has become a major influence on such acclaimed and experimental bands as Fleet Foxes and Animal Collective.

Maroon 5 and Foster the People turned in credible covers of Beach Boys songs before the group -- finally featuring Brian Wilson after decades of division -- performed a medley of their harmony-filled hits.

Veterans McCartney and country star Glen Campbell also turned in highlight performances. Campbell brought McCartney and other stars to their feet as he sang "Rhinestone Cowboy" wearing a jacket bedecked in -- what else? -- rhinestones. The singer, who is battling Alzheimers, received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Potentially incendiary moments passed uneventfully. Chris Brown and Rihanna performed -- separately -- three years after Brown brutalized his then-girlfriend after a 2009 Grammy party hosted by Clive Davis. (Davis' party is becoming incredibly storied -- after Houston's death Saturday, it became a tribute to her.) Rihanna called on the crowd to "make some noise" for Houston, then performed with Coldplay. That transitioned into the band doing its Radiohead-lite routine.

Brown went on to win the Best R&B Album award for "F.A.M.E."

Other memorable performances included one by Swift, who sang "Mean" against a rambling shack backdrop. She wore a long, simple dress and held a banjo she didn't seem to be actually playing. Nice song, though.

Carrie Underwood dueted with Tony Bennett, who can do anything, and made it look easy, as usual.

The Lady Gaga effect was apparent: Rapper Nicki Minaj had the most provocative appearance, wearing all red and holding the arm of an escort dressed as the Pope. Katy Perry delivered an ambitious performance that included a body double and lots of flames.

But Adele's straightforward performance of "Rolling in the Deep" won the night. The British singer suggested she had made a complete recovery from her surgery with a controlled but stirring performance.