By now, you’ve probably either read about or seen Jennifer Hudson’s stirring rendition of the national anthem before Sunday night’s Super Bowl. In her first public performance since her mother, brother and nephew were slain in October, Hudson delivered a stunning version of the anthem.
But after the game, the show’s producer, “American Idol” music director Ricky Minor, told The Associated Press that, at his request, Hudson lip-synched the anthem to a previously recorded track.
“This was such an important performance, because it’s the first time everyone has seen Jennifer. But she’s in such a great place, with such great spirits, and time can heal her wounds. She’s on fire right now and totally grounded,” said Minor, who has produced a number of Super Bowl pregame performances, including Whitney Houston’s iconic 1991 rendition of the anthem, also in Tampa, which is considered one of the all-time greats.
Minor explained that he insisted that both [artist id=”2481017″]Hudson[/artist] and [artist id=”501090″]Faith Hill[/artist], who performed “America the Beautiful” before Hudson, sing to the prerecorded tracks the NFL requires them to submit a week before the game.
“That’s the right way to do it,” Minor said. “There’s too many variables to go live. I would never recommend any artist go live, because the slightest glitch would devastate the performance.”
Minor described Hudson as being very calm and prepared for her performance. While many artists try to reach for the Houston standard on the huge Super Bowl stage, he said Hudson’s soaring take was more personal than patriotic.
“She’s from the church,” Minor said. “So we wanted to give it a gospel feel, use a little organ, rhythm and really give it a feel that matched Jennifer. We wanted her to emote the lyrics and connect with the song.”
After the performance, Minor said Hudson returned to the dressing room and anxiously asked him, “How did I do?”
“I told her, ’Touchdown!'” Minor told the AP after the performance. Minor added that Hudson’s two cell phones lit up “like slot machines” following her performance, including a text from her “Dreamgirls” co-star Jamie Foxx. “His text said ’Amazing. It brought tears to my eyes,’ ” Minor said. “She’s just getting so much love.”
Hudson, 27, who has yet to discuss her family tragedy in public, will next appear at the [url id=”http://www.mtv.com/news/grammys/”]Grammy Awards[/url] on February 8.
At press time, reps for Hudson had not granted MTV News’ requests for comment.
Will Lil Wayne grab all the gramophones? Is Katy Perry going to tell her girl rivals to kiss off? Can Coldplay march off with a win? MTV News is all over the 51st Annual Grammy Awards, so stay tuned for interviews, analysis and more before, during and after the big night, Sunday, February 8.