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October 10, 2015

Whitney on Oprah, day two

by Allison Waldman, posted Sep 15th 2009 8:36PM
Whitney Houston on OprahIf you tuned in to watch the first part -- day one -- of Whitney Houston's interview with Oprah Winfrey yesterday, you weren't alone. The overnight ratings were gangbusters for The Oprah Winfrey Show, the best premiere in three years, which is just what Oprah had in mind when her producers booked Whitney on her comeback trail.

And Whitney benefited, too. Her new CD debuted at number one on the Billboard chart, a fact confirmed at the end of the second half that was broadcast today. So Whitney won and Oprah won and Clive Davis was happy and smiling, probably because he had orchestrated the whole thing behind the scenes.

If part one of Whitney's interview with Oprah was like Intervention, as I wrote yesterday, today's installment veered away from the Bobby Brown drug talk, and went directly to the pulpit. There were a lot of references to spiritual power, people praying for Whitney, even the lyrics of her songs relating to her will to survive.

While I respect Whitney's belief in the power of prayer and how it transformed her, I question Oprah's rah-rah attitude in the interview. Instead of remaining detached, Oprah put herself into the story, saying that she was praying for Whitney during her dark days, and then Whitney responding that after her mother and her daughter and her family, she loved Oprah.

Oprah has always been too much of a celebrity to really qualify as a great interviewer, so it was probably a stretch to think this Whitney Houston session would be different. Part two did yield two interesting bits, though. The first was Whitney's reaction to Michael Jackson's death. Not surprisingly, she was devastated. She didn't take the bait from Oprah and say that Michael's death was a cautionary tale. Instead, Whitney just cried for the loss of a friend she'd known for years.

The other noteworthy item was the fact that Bobbi Kristina, Whitney and Bobby Brown's daughter, wants to become a singer. Whitney wasn't happy about her daughter's determination, but the kid has her own mind (which we saw on Being Bobby Brown) and seems set in her decision.

The hour included a performance by Whitney of the song "I Didn't Know My Own Strength," which was Oprah's favorite cut on the new CD. Whitney sang it like a personal anthem, and she sang it well, much better than the live appearance on Good Morning, America. So hopefully, she'll be able to live up to those lyrics and this comeback will stick. Otherwise, a few years from now, she could be back on Oprah, confessing again.

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Joan Brinich

Dear Oprah,
I do believe that Whitney Houston started taking drugs when she played the godmother in the ethnic CINDERELLA on TV; also when she played in the BODYGUARD. It seemed obvious by her body language or verbal language, don't you think? (A little too much hostility). I love your show. Joan Brinich, St. Clair Shores, MI

September 16 2009 at 5:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tim Wilkins

I liked the 1st part. Found Whitney holding back imo. Found Oprah to be 'too close' to the subject. And part 2 confirmed that for me. I have an illness that has put me on disability so I know all about 'finding ur own stregnth" and 'spirituality.' I, too, noticed that Whitney didn't 'belt' it when singing til the end. As if 'saving it up' imo. I think she's just going thru a rebirth, albeit with the ramifications of her drug use.

September 16 2009 at 4:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This article is poorly written. Whitney's album debuted at number one on the billboard chart before either episode aired. Whitney's album moved from Number 11 to Number 4 on the itunes chart after the second installment aired.

September 15 2009 at 11:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Robwillrob's comment

It was a fine article Robwillrob. Allison just said it was confirmed at the end of the second half. Why so critical? Issues?

September 16 2009 at 2:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joan Brinich

I do believe that Whitney Houston began using drugs around the time she played the fairy godmother in the updated Cinderella presentation. There was a change in her countenance and delivery in that performance, just as there was a change in it visible to me in the Bodyguard movie. Do you agree? Joan Brinich
p.s. Love your show

September 15 2009 at 11:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

'Well' is relative, I guess...color me unimpressed. 'The Voice' is gone, but I still love Whitney Houston.

September 15 2009 at 9:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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