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Crossing Back Over: Whitney Houston Tries To Be Famous For Singing Again

Whitney Houston showed up at the 2009 Grammy Awards, and you'll be seeing a little more of her as she releases her new album and tries for an unlikely comeback. Kevin Winter/Getty Images hide caption

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Whenever a new kind of setback is invented, a new kind of comeback is invented. And leave it to Whitney Houston to make one of the first highly publicized efforts at a comeback from being the kind of celebrity that we didn't even have until recently: the train-wreck reality-show star.

It's one thing to reappear after a long absence during which nobody really knew what you were doing. That's the Mickey Rourke comeback: When he showed up in last year's The Wrestler, there was a certain "Oh, right, that guy" reaction. Because what you might call the First Mickey Rourke Era was in the 1980s, and little of note had been heard from him since then.

It's another thing when you were the subject of your own grotesque reality show that tracked your every move — and it wasn't that long ago. As she prepares to release her new album,