Double Date Begins Whitneys Comeback

www.whitneyhouston.comDespite high sales, critics wonder whether Houstons voice can cope with a world tour after years of drug abuse.

Multiple Grammy award-winner Whitney Houston starts her worldwide comeback in Moscow on Wednesday at the Olimpiisky Sports Complex.

Houston’s Russian concerts — she will also play in St. Petersburg on Saturday — will serve as a rehearsal for the pop diva’s World Tour, which starts in Japan in February 2010.

The pop singer has a new album, “I Look to You,” following a long period of drug abuse and a much-publicized divorce with singer Bobby Brown.

“This is my first full tour since the ‘My Love Is Your Love’ tour in 1999, and I am so excited to be performing for my fans around the world after all this time,” Houston said in an official statement.

Houston’s return to the spotlight was marked with an interview on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and more exotically by her performing a concert in Astana, Kazakhstan in July on President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s birthday, which was broadcast on national television.

At the time, Kazakh bloggers expressed their outrage that the concert was given only to a “select few” and that Houston’s voice was nowhere near her pre-drug “Bodyguard”-era mastery.

Houston retains many fans in the former Soviet Union because of the huge popularity of the film, “The Bodyguard,” which was seemingly played on a loop for much of the 1990s.

Members of Whitney’s Moscow fan club said they are planning on occupying major Moscow hotels Dec. 9 in an effort to catch a glimpse of their idol.

Houston spoke of her drug addiction on “Oprah”: “He [Brown] was my drug. I didn’t do anything without him. I wasn’t getting high by myself. It was me and him together. You know, we were partners. And that’s what my high was. Him. He and I being together.”

“I wanted to stop at that point. I mean, the drugs, the whole thing. I wanted it all just to stop. And he just wanted to continue,” Houston said on the talk show.

Despite the new album’s success in the United States, selling 305,000 copies in the first week and topping the charts, music critics have unanimously spotted a significant drop in Houston’s voice quality that could prevent her from performing the legendary high-pitch notes in “I Will Always Love You.”

The producer of “I Look to You,” Clive Davis, who discovered Houston and introduced her to the American public 25 years ago, said in an interview on “Good Morning America” that Houston “still stands for the best of song writing, the best of singing — and we know the public wants it.”

“You won’t forget it after you hear it,” Davis said. “There is a song on this album which is called ‘I Didn’t Know My Own Strength,’ and it really speaks for Whitney. She tumbled, but she didn’t crumble.”

Whitney Houston plays the Olimpiisky Sports Complex, 16 Olimpiisky Prospekt, on Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available on for 1,650 rubles.