Of all the musical highlights at the memorial service to Michael Jackson, none was more bone-chilling than Jennifer Hudson's rendition of "Will You Be There." She belted it out with that same sky-shattering bravado that earned her an Oscar for crooning "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" in "Dreamgirls," and the performance was magically enhanced by the addition of Michael Jackson's whispered words, "In my darkest hour, in my deepest despair, will you still care? Will you be there?"
Not only was it expert song craftsmanship, but it was a cry to heaven freighted with extra poignancy knowing that the tragic loss of the King of Pop was being acknowledged artistically by a major new star who recently suffered the tragic loss of her family members.
Twice in recent years, the voices of living and dead artists were merged into recordings that won record of the year at the Grammys: "Unforgettable" with Natalie and Nat King Cole (1991) and "Here We Go Again" with Norah Jones and Ray Charles (2004).
Even if Jennifer Hudson's duet with Michael Jackson isn't issued as a single, it will still be Grammy eligible as an electronic recording available via download if released by iTunes and other sources.
Photo: Elektra Records