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Jennifer Hudson's "I Will Always Love You" Cover Brought Whitney Houston to Her Feet

The former The Voice Coach and Houston had an emotional connection during the performance. 

By Jackie Manno

In 2010 at the BET Honors former The Voice Coach Jennifer Hudson (Seasons 13 and 15) did the most soulful rendition of one of Whitney Houston's most popular tracks, "I Will Always Love You." The best part? Houston herself was in the audience during the performance, and was clearly impressed by Hudson's powerful vocals. 

How to Watch

Watch the Season 26 premiere of The Voice on Monday, September 23 at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock. 

Hudson's arrangement started out a capella, and she sang with a vulnerable whisper with controlled vibrato. She told the story with her voice, using perfectly placed high notes and riffs while she launched into the song's signature lyrics. 

When the explosive chorus hit, Hudson hit the iconic emotional sustained note, and the camera zoomed into Houston fully embracing the music. Hudson then sang directly to Houston for the second verse, making the song totally her own.

For the dramatic key change, Hudson belted her heart out, hitting notes that'll give you goosebumps while Houston cheered her on from the crowd. Hudson then wrapped up by singing with grit and adlibbing some softer notes, reaching out for Houston's hand when the final note played.

What to know about "I Will Always Love You"

Originally written by Dolly Parton in 1973, Whitney Houston's 1992 version for the film The Bodyguard reached the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100. 

When Parton was on The Kelly Clarkson Show in 2022, she described the experience of hearing Houston's take on her song for the first time. "I heard it on the radio. And so when it went into ‘And I,’ I just freaked out. I had to pull over to the side because, honestly, I thought I was 'gonna wreck. It was the most overwhelming feeling. And you know how great that was,” Parton said. 

RELATED: Blake Shelton Got Jennifer Hudson's Son the Wildest Christmas Present

Images of Jennifer Hudson and Whitney Houston.

The lyrics to "I Will Always Love You"

If I should stay
I would only be in your way
So I'll go, but I know
I'll think of you every step of the way

And I will always love you
I will always love you

My darling, you

Bittersweet memories
That is all I'm taking with me
So goodbye, please, don't cry
We both know I'm not what you, you need

And I will always love you
I will always love you

I hope life treats you kind
And I hope you have all you've dreamed of
And I wish to you joy and happiness
But above all this, I wish you love

And I will always love you
I will always love you
I will always love you
I will always love you
I will always love you, I
I will always love you, you

Darling, I love you
Ooh, I'll always, I'll always love you

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