The main Grammys ceremony, which opened at LA's Staples Centre last night, was transformed into an emotion-fuelled memorial to soul diva Whitney Houston, whose body was found dead only 24 hours before.
The night opened with a prayer and standing ovation to the singer, who herself won a clutch of six prestigious Recording Academy gongs over a turbulent career marred by spells of drug addiction.
Host LL Cool J said: "There is no way around this. We've had a death in our family so at least for me, the only thing that seems right is to start with a prayer for our fallen sister Whitney Houston."
He declared the night one to "celebrate and remember," and played a clip of Houston performing I Will Always Love You from the 1994 Grammys.
Later in the show, actress and singer Jennifer Hudson performed an emotional tribute to Houston singing a rendition of the late star's biggest hit.
Tributes were also paid by the parents of Amy Winehouse, who were called on stage during the ceremony to accept a posthumous award for the late British singer, who died following a lengthy battle with drink and drugs last year at the age of 27.
Referencing the recently deceased Etta James, Mitch Winehouse said: "Long live Whitney Houston, long live Amy Winehouse, Long live Etta James. There's a beautiful girl band up in heaven."
SLIDESHOW: Some of the best bits of the 2012 Grammys in photos: