This Whitney Houston episode bothers me because they are not doing it to tribute someone. They are doing it for ratings.
Amber Riley’s performance of “I Will Always Love You” is one of the best solo performances on Glee because Amber can sing a Whitney Houston song, the song itself fit well within the context of the plot (something Glee has an issue with at times), and the performance officially aired three days after Whitney Houston’s death and it was her most famous song. People loved it not because it was Glee but because Amber did an amazing job.
Everything was in place for this performance. This was Amber’s (and also Mercedes’) chance to do it big for once, to be the center of attention.
This Whitney Houston episode has to be difficult for Amber to film because not everyone can sing Whitney. Also, there is no guarantee that she will have a solo again. Mercedes’ character does not get the chance to really sing so Amber may just be background for an episode that has her written all over it. However, Amber should feel proud to know that she did it first and she was great.