In support of the release of her first studio album since 2002, Whitney Houston has been hard at work on the publicity circuit flogging I Look To You with a series of high-profile TV showcases. When her record was released Stateside back in late August, she not only conducted a highly rated two-part tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, but she also wheezed her way through what was ultimately an inconsistent performance on Good Morning America. Her efforts certainly paid off in the short term: Her album sold 305,000 copies to curious consumers during its first week of release, but has subsequently dropped out of Billboard’s top ten. And now that her record is set to drop in the U.K., she appeared on Simon Cowell’s X-Factor program over the weekend to sing “Million Dollar Bill,” the first single off of her lackluster LP. And, well, let’s just say things didn’t go so well for Whitney.
It’s pretty clear to anyone who’s seen any of Whitney Houston’s recent “comeback” performances that the person who is up onstage singing is a shell of her former self. Not only does her voice sound simultaneously raspy and thin, but she is so out of shape that she’s left panting for nearly a minute after the conclusion of her performance (a performance, mind you, in which she barely moved onstage). Making matters worse, a couple of support straps on her silver dress appeared to have snapped off roughly two minutes and twenty seconds into the song. Understandably, this minor wardrobe malfunction rattled Whitney for a good fifteen seconds or so, but she was able to successfully get back into the groove thereafter. To her credit, she was able to get off a nice quip at the conclusion of her performance by telling the show’s host, “I sang myself out of my clothes.” Still, it looks to us that Whitney is going to have to work significantly harder on both her vocals and fitness if her planned 2010 tour is going to be anything other than a colossal disappointment.