All-star Tribute To Franklin Gets Grammys Off To Powerful Start

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February 13, 2011 | 9:05pm EST

Jennifer Hudson, Christina Aguilera, Martina Mcbride, Florence Welch and Yolanda Adams kicked off the 2011 Grammy Awards with a rousing girl power tribute to soul icon Aretha Franklin.
The five artists opened the ceremony at Los Angeles’ Staples Center with a medley of the Queen of Soul’s hits, including solo and joint renditions of tracks such as Think, Respect and Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do).

Their efforts earned them a standing ovation from the star-studded crowd – a personal triumph for Aguilera, who hit the stage to perform Ain’t No Way for the first time since her big blunder singing the Star Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl last weekend.

Franklin was not present for the big event – as LL Cool J introduced the ladies to the stage, he admitted the soul legend was “at home tonight, in Detroit, getting better”.

But the 68 year old, who is recovering from a mystery illness, sent a video message to fans at the ceremony and showed her gratitude for the special tribute, saying: “Thank you ladies, I love you all… I especially want to thank all of you who took the time to send me get well cards and beautiful, beautiful flowers, and most importantly, your prayers during my time of hospitalisation… I wish that I could have been with you tonight, but since I couldn’t, next year.”