First Listen: Jennifer Hudson Brings Some Soul To The Oscars

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    With a song from the now defunct NBC musical TV series, Smash, Jennifer Hudson resurrected a ballad that only briefly had a moment in the sun. Nearly three years ago, Hudson performed the original "I Can't Let Go" as part of her Broadway diva character during her brief guest arc in the series. While NBC made the song available for iTunes, it saw little life outside of YouTube views (it also happens to be my favorite JHud ballad performance on record).

    With a song from the now defunct NBC musical TV series, Smash, Jennifer Hudson resurrected a ballad that only briefly had a moment in the sun. Nearly three years ago, Hudson performed the original "I Can't Let Go" as part of her Broadway diva character during her brief guest arc in the series. While NBC made the song available for iTunes, it saw little life outside of YouTube views (it also happens to be my favorite JHud ballad performance on record).

    So, it was quite the surprise to hear Hudson sing the obscure torch song after the annual “In Memoriam” tribute segment to honor those in the movie industry who had transitioned in the last year, from movie critics to acting icons. Executive producers of Smash, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, also just happened to be the producers for this year’s Academy Awards, so it was more than a little bit of kismet that this soulful nugget got another moment to shine, this time to some 40 million watchers around the world. The lyrics of loss and longing were perfectly suited to the tribute as was the stunning performance by Jennifer Hudson, who had already wowed us last week with her “All In Love Is Fair” performance at the Stevie Wonder Grammy tribute. Consistency is becoming Hudson’s middle name. Keep up the work, ma! We see you.

    By L. Michael Gipson

    Jennifer Hudson - "I Can't Let Go"