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Jennifer Hudson sings at Super Bowl

February 1, 2009 | 10:40 am

Jennifer_hudson_oscars_super_bowl

Jennifer Hudson sings the national anthem at today's Super Bowl in Tampa. This is the first public appearance for the 2006 Oscar winner ("Dreamgirls") since her mother, Darnell Donerson, brother Jason Hudson, and nephew Julian King were murdered in their Chicago home Oct. 28. Expect Jennifer Hudson's performance to equal the emotional one delivered by Whitney Houston back in 1991 when the Super Bowl was played (also in Tampa) against the backdrop of the start of the first Gulf War. Houston's performance of "The Star Spangled Banner" was released as a single and reached the top 20 on Billboard.

Another Oscar winner — Bruce Springsteen — will be performing during the half-time show today. Bruce Springsteen won his Oscar in 1993 for the song "Streets of Philadelphia" from the film "Philadelphia." He was nominated two years later for the title song of "Dead Man Walking" but lost to "Colors of the Wind" from "Pocahontas." Bruce Springsteen was snubbed this year for his Golden Globe-winning title track for "The Wrestler."

Though the Oscars are referred to as the Super Bowl of entertainment, the real one has a surprising (and long-running) connection to the awards fest. Jennifer Hudson will not be the first Oscar winner to sing at the Super Bowl. Back in 1999, Cher — the 1987 best actress winner for "Moonstruck" — performed the national anthem. The following year, Phil Collins appeared in the half-time show just weeks before winning an Oscar for the song "You'll Be in My Heart" from "Tarzan." In 2005, Paul McCartney performed at the half-time show. He, along with the other three Beatles — George Harrison, John Lennon and Ringo Starr — won the 1970 original song score Oscar for "Let It Be." And Prince, the 1984 song score winner for "Purple Rain," performed in the 2007 half-time show.

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