The show was broadcast worldwide to a reported audience of more than 2 billion people, making the short gig one of the most-watched musical events ever.
Houston battled hot sun, helicopters and a sub-par sound system in belting out six shortened versions of some of her top hits. After she made a width-of-the-field running entrance with soccer star Pele, the bodyguarded one opened with an uninspired rendition of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”
The crowd perked up after a more spirited delivery of “I’m Every Woman.” Houston then made an easy transition into “The Greatest Love of All.”
Houston also glided through “How Will I Know,” a moving “I Will Always Love You” and “So Emotional.”
Houston had difficulty with her normally silky smooth voice throughout the short set. The problem was compounded by a sound system that not only garbled words, but made it difficult to hear anything above the bass line.
The show, produced by Radio City Music Hall Prods., looked it. With costumes and colors representing nations from five continents, hundreds of dancers moved and swayed in synch with Houston’s gyrations.
Kenny G delivered a high-noted version of the “Star-Spangled Banner” to start things off.
Unfortunately for the performers, already hampered by poor sound quality, the crowd was more interested in the World Cup soccer final and paid little heed to the musical production. But as a visual, the display of flags and banners was impressive.