"In saying I'm proud of her legacy, I'm going to make sure that she's felt somehow during that night, yes," the 80-year-old said in an interview Thursday.
Davis' gala will take place Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton, where Houston died on Feb. 11, 2012, at age 48.
The annual event is where Davis introduced a young Houston to the music world more than two decades ago. Davis—Houston's mentor, producer, champion and longtime friend—memorialized her at last year's gala, held downstairs from the hotel where she died.
"Whitney and I had great times at this party over the years," he said, smiling. "I'd played her new songs and she'd come over in her pajamas and be listening late at night ... so it is bittersweet. Tragedy is still foul."
Houston was found drowned in a bathtub. Coroner's officials ruled her death accidental, with heart disease and cocaine use contributing factors.
The night continued last year after Houston's death—and the music will live on this year.
R&B singer Miguel, who's up for five awards at Sunday's Grammys—including song of the year for "Adorn"—will hit the stage. He rehearsed some of the song happily Thursday.
"I've dreamt about coming to this party," the singer said. "It's a huge honor to be included and perform."
Davis, per usual, was tight-lipped about the other performers.
"You should expect being blown away by the diversity of the music, by the vitality of the music, by the range of music today," Davis said.
Last year's performers included Elvis Costello, Ray Davies, Alicia Keys, Jessie J and others.
R&B singers Brandy and Monica, mentees of Houston, were supposed to perform their new duet at that time, but were emotional due to Houston's death.
Emotional Houston moments will be captured in an hour-long CBS special titled "The Grammys Will Go On: A Death in the Family." It's a behind-the-scenes look at how Houston's death affected last year's Grammy Awards and will air the same night as Davis' gala. It includes interviews with Jennifer Hudson, Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift and other artists.
The Beverly Hilton Hotel said in a statement that the room where Houston died has not been used.
"Out of respect to the family and fans of Whitney, the guest room where she stayed was immediately taken out of inventory and all contents were removed," the statement read. "Hotel management is considering options to repurpose the space but has made no final decisions at this time."
Saturday's event will honor Epic Records chairman and CEO Antonio L.A. Reid.
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