The Whitney Watch

Tonight, all eyes will indubitably take note of the presence — or absence — of singer Whitney Houston at the Arista Records’ benefit concert at the Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium. Houston — who bowed out on the Oscars and skipped a couple of Grammy rehearsals — is scheduled to perform at the bash, which is doubling as a 25th anniversary celebration of the Arista label. The appearance is to be her first since the blown Oscar gig and comes on the heels of an article in the new People magazine article in which the singer’s alleged substance abuse problem is hinted at publicly.

So, to confirm Houston‘s itinerary tonight (and to be able to hold her to her words later), we placed a cursory call to her people.

“Yes, [Whitney Houston] is planning to perform [at the Arista party],” the assistant for the singer’s publicist told on Friday.

So there.

Besides Whitney Houston, the concert is also to features performances by: geriatric rocker Santana, rock mavens Annie Lennox and Patti Smith, elevator musicians Kenny G., Barry Manilow, Carly Simon, not to mention, Sarah McLachlan, Brooks & Dunn, Deborah Cox, Alan Jackson, LFO, Monica, Next, Puff Daddy and Westlife.

The bash, dubbed “25 Years Of #1 Hits: Arista Records’ Anniversary Celebration,” will air in convenient TV form on May 15 on NBC.