LOS ANGELES — It was a ritzy, but reverent night at Clive Davis' annual pre-Grammy party.
Hosted on the Golden Globes' home turf at The Beverly Hilton hotel, the Saturday-night soirée was a hot ticket among music and non-industry folks. Artists including Britney Spears, Lorde, The Chainsmokers, Stevie Wonder, and Ringo Starr were all seated at the front of the ballroom closest to the stage, where they rubbed shoulders with celebrities Kourtney Kardashian, Kris Jenner, Lena Dunham, Jane Fonda and Michael Keaton.
Over a dinner of grilled chicken and risotto, guests were treated to performances from Grammy nominees such as Maren Morris, nominated for best new artist, who played her breakout hit My Church; and fellow new-artist contender Chance the Rapper, who got the crowd on its feet with a high-octane medley of songs off his streaming mixtape Coloring Book.
But the tributes to late musicians packed the night's biggest punch. Davis took to the podium to honor his onetime Columbia Records artist Leonard Cohen, before introducing Jennifer Hudson. The Grammy winner, dressed in an ethereal white gown, delivered a powerhouse rendition of the singer/songwriter's signature Hallelujah.
Shortly after, Davis saluted the "genius of Prince" with a performance by R&B singer Maxwell, who dedicated his cover of the Nothing Compares 2 U to Whitney Houston, who died 5 years ago Saturday.
Before singer Mike Posner closed out the night with his Grammy-nominated song-of-the-year I Took a Pill in Ibiza, Mary J. Blige took the stage to celebrate BET Networks chairman/CEO Debra Lee, feted with the Industry Icons award for her contributions to music behind the scenes. But Blige's stage time took an unexpectedly emotional turn, as she opened up about her ongoing divorce from husband and manager Kendu Isaacs.
"Right now in my life, I need strength like yours, because I may look happy, but I'm going through some horrible stuff right now. It's called divorce," Blige said, before launching into her recent single Thick of It. "This song is exactly where I'm at."
The 59th annual Grammy Awards air on CBS Sunday (8 ET/5 PT).