Whitney Houston and R Kelly both gave performances that bordered on bizarre, with two entirely different results, at Clive Davis' annual pre-Grammy gala.
R Kelly owned the evening with an electrifying set that had stars from Akon to Glee star Jane Lynch on their feet, as he sang his retro hit When A Woman Loves and also dabbled through his rich catalogue of hits.
He started his mini-concert off with the odd choice of the national anthem, though soulfully rendered, then in another puzzling moment, teased a bit of the Price Is Right theme.
Whitney Houston, the evening's last performer, also got a reverential response from the audience as she came on stage, looking dazzling in a silver-sequinned dress.
But her once majestic voice, though at times showing flashes of her former brilliance, sounded weary and hoarse as she creaked through a tribute to her famous singing cousin, Dionne Warwick.
"I didn't have to look for the American Idol, because she was in my home," said Whitney of the classic performer.
Davis' pre-Grammy gala has long been one of Grammy week's most exclusive invites, and the crowd this year included Miley Cyrus, Diddy, Katy Perry and Usher.
The Recording Academy-event was also dedicated to David Geffen, who was given the academy's President's Merit award. The co-founder of Dreamworks is also a legendary and influential music figure and played a pivotal role in the careers of acts ranging from Joni Mitchell to Nirvana.