Just a year ago, Whitney Houston gave a blistering performance at mentor Clive Davis' pre Grammys party.
And this year the tragic star's presence was felt as keenly as singers paid an emotional tribute to 'the greatest voice' on music's biggest night.
The most poignant moment came courtesy of Jennifer Hudson who performed a stripped down version of Whitney's classic I Will Always Love You.
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Dressed in black and lit up by a single spotlight, an emotional Jennifer poured her heart into her idol's biggest hit. She ended the performance by saying: "Whitney, we will always love you".
The pain was also felt deeply by Mitch and Janis Winehouse, who were there on behalf of late daughter Amy, whose Body and Soul duet with Tony Bennett won an award.
Taking to the stage to collect Amy's Grammy, Mitch remembered the fallen divas.
"Long live Whitney Houston". he said. "Long live Amy Winehouse and long live Etta James. There's a beautiful girl band up there".
Other artists paying respects included Bruno Mars, who told the crowd: "Tonight we're celebrating the beautiful Miss Whitney Houston".
And Motown legend Stevie Wonder summed up the mood: "To Whitney up in heaven, we all love you."