The next episode of “Glee” just took on a greater degree of poignance in the wake of Whitney Houston’s shocking death on Saturday.
That’s because the Valentine’s Day-themed episode — airing on the holiday this Tuesday (Feb. 14) at 8/7c on Fox — already contained a performance of Houston’s most iconic single, “I Will Always Love You” (written and first recorded by Dolly Parton). Amber Riley, who plays Mercedes on the Fox series, got the assignment to sing the song.
Production on the “Glee” episode, titled “Heart,” was completed before this weekend, when the world was stunned by the news that Houston had died of unknown causes at age 48.
In the “Glee” episode, Riley’s character sings the song as she is torn between two boys — her ex-boyfriend Sam (Chord Overstreet) and current boyfriend Shane (LaMarcus Tinker), according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Now, in the aftermath of Houston’s death, “Glee” producers are considering adding some sort of tribute to the singer to the already-produced show.
Our guess is: It’s likely too late to film more Houston material and add such scenes to the show, so the “tribute” will more than likely be some words of thanks to Houston that would be displayed on-screen at the beginning or end of the episode. And really, Riley’s performance of that soaring song will likely be the most fitting tribute the show could present in Houston’s memory anyway. It’s sure to be a show-stopper now, as the world mourns Houston’s death.
Even before Houston died, “I Will Always Love You” had already achieved that level of ubiquity that only a handful of popular songs ever achieve — airplay that is so frequent that you can still probably hear it every single day on hundreds of radio stations.
It originated, though, in the soundtrack to Houston’s 1992 movie “The Bodyguard,” also starring Kevin Costner. And, in another reaction to Houston’s death, Lifetime Television announced that it is clearing its prime-time schedule Monday night to air “The Bodyguard” from 8 to 11 (7-10c).