Ariana Grande has covered Whitney Houston A LOT.
With that being the case, not only is it natural for us to compare her to the source material; but we are also- probably more fairly- able to contrast it to the high standard she has previously attained covering The Voice. That in mind, I can say that this tribute wasn't one of her best for me.
Lazy and uninspired, were actually the two words left with me post viewing. I know that sounds harsh, but let me explain. Initially I was into it, but as the How Will I Know and Queen of the Night medley chugged along it became apparent that this was a performance by numbers. Instead of embodying or channelling either song, Ariana was breezing through the performances as if on autopilot. The head notes that punctuated the latter song were particularly telling, being repetitive and stale.
Of course this isn't anything to do with Ariana's voice itself. She was hitting the notes pretty faithfully. For me, she just didn't deliver any of the magic that Whitney injected into her material. And that in itself kinda explains what separates the superstars from the vocalists: Whitney wasn't just about hitting notes; she was about delivering emotion and drama too. Both things sadly missing here.