It took nearly a decade, but Whitney Houston made her comeback to television in a four-song concert in Central Park broadcast on Good Morning America on Wednesday.
"I'm overwhelmed," Houston said after performing her opening number, "Million Dollar Bill," written especially for her by Alicia Keys. "I love you all saying hello to me. I never left, I never left."
Wearing tight black pants and a tan trenchcoat over a grey blouse, the 46-year-old wowed a crowd of 5,000 who had waited hours to see the singer make her long-awaited return. She hadn't been on television in seven years, and hadn't made a major live appearance since 2004. "You never left," GMA host Robin Roberts said during a break in the concert, which was prerecorded on Tuesday. "You can see the love here."
But Houston said it was the love she felt that brought her back – and that guaranteed that observers worried about her onetime drug use and personal problems need not have worried.
"I was worried for you," Diane Sawyer said.
"Well, don't be worried anymore," Houston responded.
Asked by Sawyer what brought her back to the stage after such a long absence, she answered, "My faith, the love and support of my fans, which I do have. That's basically what it is."
Family was close in more than words – Houston serenaded her mother, gospel singer Cissy Houston, during "I Look to You," the title track to her new album. During "My Love Is Your Love," she proudly brought her 16-year-old daughter Bobbi Kristina onstage to join her in singing.
But the emotions – and interviews – that accompanied her comeback evidently fatigued the former concert-circuit stalwart. After four songs, Houston apologized to the audience and signed off.
"I’m so sorry. I did Oprah. I’ve been talking for so long. … I talked so much, my voice," she said. "I shouldn’t be talking. I should be singing."