McPhee, who performed Houston's "I Have Nothing" during her time as a contestant on "American Idol," said she had the honor of performing for Houston shortly after "Idol" Season 5 ended.
"Clive Davis asked me to sing for Whitney," McPhee told Kelly Ripa and guest co-host Randy Jackson, "and I got to sing a 'Bodyguard' medley for her."
"She's always been a real huge influence in my life and you always told us to never sing her songs," McPhee said to "Idol" judge Jackson. "No one can sing it like her, but you sure can dream to be just a smidgen of what she was."
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