Whitney Houston

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Whitney Houston is back! The legendary singer returned to the Hollywood stage last night to perform at Clive Davis' annual pre-Grammy bash at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

She was the last to go on in a lineup that included Rod Stewart, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Kings Of Leon, Kelly Clarkson, Leona Lewis, Barry Manilow and the incomparable Jennifer Hudson, among others.

Ms. Whitney started off with a snippet of "I Will Always Love You" followed by "I Believe In You and Me" and "It's Not Right, but It’s Okay." She finished off the set with “I’m Every Woman.”

So how did she sound? Incredible! Was she back to the days when she was in top high-note-hitting form? No, but close.

Whitney sounded a bit restrained, as if she wanted to hit her signature jaw-dropping notes but something was holding her back. Maybe it was nerves. No doubt the pressure was on big-time. Plus, she didn't go on until after midnight! (Check out a fan's phone video of Whit's set from the party on the jump. It's a little hinky in spots, but it gives you the flavor.)

Whitney not only looked fabulous in a tight animal-print dress but appeared healthier than I have ever seen her since she began on her road to recovery.

Of course, Whitney wasn't the only thing happening at the party, which for the first time was cohosted by the Recording Academy.

I twittered from start to finish—keep reading for all my tweets right after the video.

* Beverly Hilton hotel lobby filling up...first on the carpet is Paula Abdul...now Carrie Underwood in short black silver polka dot dress. about 12 hours ago from txt

* Craziness now...Ryan Tedder tells me he just spent a week working with Leona Lewis. Another hit? He cowrote "Bleeding Love."!!!! about 12 hours ago from txt

* Meatloaf on the carpet. And what the heck is Jon Voight doing here? Estelle just arrived...she's adorable...Josh Groban again. about 12 hours ago from txt

* Kara DioGuardi looking hot...Abdul just told me she already has a feeling who will be top three AI contestants. Hmmmmm... about 12 hours ago from txt

* Taylor Swift...black and silver flapper-ish dress....girl is tall—even without her killer heels...Leona Lewis just flew by in black dress... about 12 hours ago from txt

* Sheryl Crow here. Her body is cut! Hair a bit flat. Dress is weird copper color. Muddy, dull...Chris Daughtry is hot! about 13 hours ago from txt

* Katy Perry in lavender. Perfect makeup. Red red lips. Barry Manilow. Wow, what frosted tips...J.Hud did a quick walk on carpet and then bye.

* Taylor Swift tells me it was her idea to sing with Miley tomorrow at Grammys. She said rehearsals went off without a hitch today. about 8 hours ago from txt

* In the ballroom. Everywhere are superstars. Diddy, K. Perry talking to Rihanna talking to the Jonas Brothers. about 8 hours ago from txt

* Rihanna and Chris Brown sitting next to each other. Honestly, there's something happening everywhere I look...Estelle saying hi to Jamie Foxx about 8 hours ago from txt

* Bill Maher on stage. Dirty jokes. Of the Octomom, he cracked, "The fire marshal had to close down her vagina." LOL. about 8 hours ago from txt

* Clive on stage...introducing in the audience Paul McCartney, Prince and Sly Stallone! Wow! Crazy! about 8 hours ago from txt

* J.Hud sitting at table, smiling, looking amazing...she is doing two songs tonight, one being "Weekend in New England" with Manilow. about 5 hours ago from txt

Rod Stewart first performer...Joan Collins here. Scary face! Still love Dynasty, though. about 5 hours ago from txt

* Leona Lewis singing "Bleeding Love." God, just last year here she was the newbie. Jamie Foxx impersonating Prince on stage. Prince not laughin'. about 7 hours ago from txt

* Sorry for break in twittering...Usher cancelled performance at this party 'cause of serious family illness so I had to start reporting story. about 7 hours ago from txt

* Usher's reps are declining to comment....OK, back to the show. about 8 hours ago from txt

* Miley is hanging at table with Taylor. Shouldn't they be in bed by now....I wish I was in bed...but still waiting for Whitney. about 8 hours ago from txt

* J.Hud performing "Spotlight"....everybody on their feet...now dueting at piano with Manilow. Jen looks awesome. Understated class. about 8 hours ago from txt

* Here comes Whitney. She is singing "I Will Always Love You." about 7 hours ago from txt

* She's hittin' with the "It's not right, but it's okay, I'm gonna…" Remember that? Now, "I'm Every Woman"....it's friggin' Whitney! about 7 hours ago from txt

* Katy Perry dancing. Jermaine Dupri taking pics. Faith Evans dancing...everyone is dancing...Whit looks good in tight animal-print brown dress. about 5 hours ago from txt

* W.H. sounded great. Was she the old Whitney? No, but close. She seemed restrained but I don't care. Welcome back, Whit! about 7 hours ago from txt

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