Whitney Houston Won't Be at Obama's Inaugural

We chatted with Whitney Houston's cousin, Dionne Warwick, who's hosting two musical inaugural balls.

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

We dined with diva Dionne Warwick last night at Washington's famed Italian bistro Teatro Goldoni, where she laid out her plans to host two major musical inaugural balls. "Oh, it's very exciting," said Warwick. While sipping pineapple juice before a veggie dinner salad of cherry tomatoes, Warwick detailed her two balls: One, called Legends, will be for the older crowd—those who know her music and that of planned performers Chaka Khan, the Temptations, Nancy Wilson, George Clinton, and Peter, Paul, and Mary. The other is called the Urban Ball and will include Ludacris, Big Boi of Outkast, Fantasia, and Cedric the Entertainer. Warwick pushed for the Urban Ball because she wanted to draw younger voters to Washington for the inauguration. "I really wanted to get these kids here to be part of this." You might recall that Ludacris wrote some nasty lyrics about Sen. John McCain.

But Warwick shrugged, "Everybody's got an opinion."

Somebody we most likely won't see at either ball will be Warwick cuz Whitney Houston, the troubled crooner. Warwick all but ruled out a Houston appearance, though she did hold out hope that President-elect Obama would stop by one of the two balls, which take place at the Wardman Park Marriott at 2660 Woodley Road NW.

And this just in: Whispers learns that a major sponsor for the Legends ball has dropped out and that Warwick is reaching out to fundraisers to find another one.