Tenth-place finalist Stacy Francis certainly courted controversy throughout her run on "The X Factor," and months after leaving the show, she has found herself in the spotlight again, regarding a mysterious heated altercation she allegedly had with Whitney Houston at a pre-Grammy party two days before Whitney's shocking death. This past weekend, Whitney's sister-in-law and manager, Patricia Houston, gave her eyewitness account of the incident during an "Oprah's Next Chapter" interview with Oprah Winfrey--and as a result, Yahoo! searches for "stacy francis" have jumped up 6,125 percent in last 24 hours, with related searches for "stacy francis x factor" up 2,475 percent" and "stacy francis and whitney houston" up 1,400 percent.
This all goes back to February 9, when Stacy performed at a pre-Grammy bash called "Kelly Price & Friends: For The Love Of R&B" at L.A.'s Tru Hollywood nightclub. It turned out that event also marked the last time that Whitney ever performed publicly, when Whitney spontaneously jumped onstage with Kelly to duet on "Jesus Loves Me." At some point in the night, Whitney and Stacy, who reportedly once shared a stage together in the '90s, got into some sort of argument--although accounts of what went down still seem to vary.
"There have been lots of talk of a confrontation that she had," Patricia told Oprah on Sunday. "Well, there was, kind of. There were words back and forth between [Whitney] and a young lady I believe was on 'The X Factor.' [Stacy] comes over, and she says hello, but you keep seeing her. Every corner that we go to, here she comes. Didn't know her. She didn't know her from Adam. I don't know what the initial conversation was. I just know that it didn't feel right....I saw expressions. I saw tears....from the young lady. I said, 'It's time to go.' [Whitney] did not want to leave. I said, 'No.' I didn't hear the words [exchanged]. There was no physical fighting. I would never let that happen."
Initially last month, Stacy spoke to British tabloid The Daily Mirror, and she supposedly claimed the altercation had been violent, and that Whitney had flown into a rage at Tru and had accused Stacy of flirting with her rumored boyfriend, Ray J. "She was out of control," is how the Mirror quoted Stacy. "She put her hand in my face. She was screaming at me and called me a b****. She just went crazy--like Jekyll and Hyde. I turned to look at her and she pushed my forehead and turned my face away. I grabbed her hand and said, 'Please don't do this. You're everything to me. You're my idol, you're a legend.' I was crying and screaming out, we were both screaming until eventually we were pulled apart."
But only a week or so later, Stacy changed her tune, so to speak, appearing on "Access Hollywood" to set the record straight, and definitely downplaying the violence of the skirmish. Stacy told "Access" that the altercation was not physical (and that she had nothing to do with the cuts, scratches, and blood seen in paparazzi photos of Whitney leaving the party that night). Stacy even claimed that Whitney smilingly apologized to her that evening. "What's in the media is that [Whitney] hit me in the face. What happened was I looked over at her and she moved my face away. She didn't push me. I think she was trying to have a conversation, and she was like, 'I don't want you in my conversation,'" explained Stacy.
"I said, 'You're my idol. In a normal circumstance, this might be going very different,'" continued Stacy, who once performed Whitney's "Queen Of The Night" during "The X Factor's" Movies Week (see video below). "Seriously, I'm from New York, and it could go there. But it wouldn't go there with Whitney Houston. Whitney Houston is everything to me. I said, 'Whitney, you don't even understand how much I love you.' And she smiled and she said, 'Okay, do I owe you an apology?'"
Perhaps we will never know exactly what happened that night. Was this a case of an avid fan getting a little too uncomfortably close to her idol? Was it a case of Whitney going off the rails? Did Whitney apologize? Did Stacy cross the line? It remains unclear. But one thing is certain: Many people out there are still interested in this bizarre incident from Whitney's sad final days.