By: Cole Buergi, Sr. Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.
If there was ever time when crisis management was done, and done well, it was at during the Grammys on Sunday night. Just more than 24 hours before the start of the live awards show, word came that past Grammy winner and music diva Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room.
At the young age of 48, her death was very much unexpected. And, although the autopsy results have not been released at the time of this post, the rumors are circulating. Houston has had a very troubled history with drugs and alcohol and has arrived at several recent public events appearing disoriented.
Although there was and continues to be great speculation on the cause of her death and with only 24 hours to revise the show, the producers created a tribute to Houston that tastefully and, with dignity, paid respect to her accomplishments as a singer. In addition, the host’s script was revised to include kind words of her musical talent and recognize her impact on the music industry and performers throughout the evening paid tribute to her.
The clips of her performances and the comments by the host were very well done and didn’t interrupt or overshadow the purpose of the Grammys which is a celebration of today’s accomplished artists.
With a show that is timed to the second for broadcasting purposes, I can only imagine the stress the producers faced to work this tribute into the show, determine where to put it and what needed to be removed from the scheduled performances to accommodate it. Despite the pressure, I feel they managed it well. The lead in to the tribute and tribute itself were seamless as if it had been a part of the show the entire time and not a last minute addition
What are your thoughts on how they handled it? Do you think they could have done more considering Houston’s accomplishments or do you feel they did too much considering the speculation on her cause of death?