June 12th, 2012
03:09 PM ET
As host of the 2012 Grammy Awards, LL Cool J was at home preparing for the next night's ceremony when he got the February 11 call that Whitney Houston had died.
After hearing that, the rapper-turned-actor told CNN Monday, there was really only one thing he could do to move forward with the celebration of the best in music as the industry reeled from such a loss: to open the ceremony with a prayer.
His decision and the other impromptu revisions are chronicled in a documentary from the Recording Academy that details how Houston's sudden death dramatically changed music's biggest night. Called "A Death in the Family: The Show Must Go On," the 26-minute doc was screened in Los Angeles Monday.
Although the opening prayer was his idea, LL Cool J told us yesterday, he still wasn't sure how to pull it off.
“I bounced it off my wife and she said, ‘Yeah, I think it's great,'" he recalled. "It was just one of those things where I wasn't sure how [Grammys' executive producer] Ken [Ehrlich] was going to respond to it because I knew it was a little unorthodox, but it was the only way I could, for me, be able to do the show or handle it and feel good as a host moving forward."
The show moving forward was what Houston would have wanted, Neil Portnow, President and CEO of The Recording Academy, said on Monday, and that sentiment served as the title for the documentary.
“Whitney would have said, ‘Boys, the show has got to go on. 'It's about music, some of it is my music and that will be there forever.' And that is the voice we listened to,” Portnow said.
Nearly 40 million viewers watched February's Grammys, making it the second largest audience in the ceremony's history.
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