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Category: Jennifer Hudson

Can Jennifer Hudson's duet with Michael Jackson win a Grammy?

July 8, 2009 | 12:25 pm

Natalie Cole Michael Jackson Jennifer Hudson

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

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Which 'American Idol' rivals have the best shot to win awards?

March 19, 2009 | 11:30 am

Let's forget for a moment who has the best shot to win "American Idol." Who among the  live show participants has the best chance to go on and contend for the top showbiz awards?

Remember that Jennifer Hudson only came in seventh place in Season 3, but went on win the Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG, Critics Choice, BAFTA and New York Film Critics Circle awards for her performance in "Dreamgirls" as well as best R&B album at the recent Grammys for her debut disc "Jennifer Hudson."

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Season 3 champ Fantasia recorded a R&B duet with Hudson — "I'm His Only Woman" — that contended at those Grammys. Fantasia earned four Grammy nominations in 2006 for her first album ("Free Yourself") and  three more in 2008 for her second ("Fantasia"). She has three Billboard Awards, including the prize for top-selling single of 2004 ("I Believe").

Ruben Studdard, who won Season 2 by a whisker, picked up a Grammy nod in 2004 for best male R&B vocal performance ("Superstar"), but he lost to his idol, Luther Vandross. Runner-up Clay Aiken, who won three Billboard awards and was fan choice at the 2003 American Music Awards, has yet to pick up any Grammy noms.

Season 1 champ Kelly Clarkson won Grammys in 2006 for best female pop vocal performance ("Since U Been Gone") and pop album ("Breakaway"). She also won best female video twice at the MTV Music Video Awards — "Since U Been Gone" (2005) and "Because of You" (2006)  — as well as six Teen Choice Awards, four American Music Awards, and a People's Choice Award. And now that  Clarkson's fourth album — "All I Ever Wanted" — just entered the Billboard charts at No. 1, it's likely that more kudos are ahead.

Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks released her self-titled debut album in the fall of 2007 to good reviews and sales, including two platinum singles ("Tattoo" and "No Air"). The latter of those was with Chris Brown and landed them a recent Grammy nod for pop vocal collaboration.

While Taylor Hicks won Season 5 of "American Idol," he has never been nominated for any showbiz prize (and, let's be honest, has little hope in the future — what were voters thinking in 2006, eh?). However, fourth-place finisher Chris Daughtry scored four Grammy nominations for his group's self-titled debut "Daughtry." And they won four American Music Awards in 2007.

Season 4 champ Carrie Underwood is the only "American Idol" ever  nominated for best new artist at the Grammys, which she won in 2007, in addition to best female country vocal performance ("Jesus, Take the Wheel"). She repeated in that category in both 2008 ("Before He Cheats") and 2009 ("Last Name"). Carrie Underwood has also won five American Music Awards, five Country Music Assn. Awards, six Academy of Country Music Awards, and six CMTs.

So what about the current crop of "American Idol" contestants? Which ones have the best awards potential? I posed that question in The Envelope's Gold Derby forums and discovered that most support goes to Kris Allen, Allison Iraheta, Adam Lambert and Lil' Rounds. Here are just a sample of comments from our posters:

Try Again: "Adam —  If the material is good or popular, he will no doubt get an AMA, VMA nomination. Allison — She seem the most poised to earn multiple nominations from the AMAs, VMAs and Grammys. She could do well with the right material to get a couple of nominations."

Gucci: "At this point, Lil' Rounds is the only one to me that has potential to land some Grammy nominations within the R&B field."

LKMOSCAR: "Allison is the only one as of now."

DJWolff: "Kris Allen seems to be the only contestant with some viable marketability. However, Adam Lambert has a huge following. He can definitely exploit the emo-Tokio Hotel route and win VMAs on his own (especially if they're fan-voted)."

Continue reading »

Kelly Clarkson comes home to 'American Idol'

March 10, 2009 | 12:58 pm

The lucky 13 "American Idol" contenders who made it through to tonight's live show would do well to take a few minutes out of their hectic day and listen to Season 1 champ Kelly Clarkson as she rehearses for her appearance. After all, she is the prime example of how to handle the sudden success that can come with appearing on this TV talent contest.

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Tonight, Kelly Clarkson will be belting out her smash hit "My Life Would Suck Without You." Back in January, that single broke the Billboard record as it jumped from  No. 97 to the top spot in just one week. It was the first cut off her new album, "All I Ever Wanted," which is out today. And while this is only her fourth album, it is being touted as her comeback.

After being crowned the first "American Idol" winner back in the summer of 2002,  Clarkson's debut disc "Thankful" went double platinum but met with only moderate critical approval. Her sophomore effort — "Breakaway" — was her breakthrough, selling 6 million copies and winning her Grammys in 2006 for best female pop vocal performance ("Since U Been Gone") and pop album. However, third time was not the charm as her introspective 2007 release "My December" barely went platinum and failed to impress the critics as well.

With this new album, Clarkson is said to have hit her stride once more. Ann Powers of the Los Angeles Times called the disc "a masterful rapprochement with the mainstream, full of cheerfully ear-snagging tunes, inventive production, exhilarating vocals and enough inherent Kelly-ness to put aside fears that her label bosses implanted blond electrodes in her brain to make her behave." And Leah Greenblat of Entertainment Weekly found, "the introspection Clarkson favored so heavily on 'December' is still there; now, though, she has perspective." However, there were those reviewers who were disappointed like Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune, who bemoaned that this album, "allows no room for the down-to-earth voice that Clarkson brings to her blog entries, the plainspoken charm she evinces in her concerts. She deserves better."

Among the other "American Idol" alumni, Season 4 champ Carrie Underwood has hauled home the most music awards hardware. She won the 2007 Grammy as best new artist and another for female country vocal performance ("Jesus, Take the Wheel") and she repeated in that category in both 2008 ("Before He Cheats") and 2009 ("Last Name").  Underwood has also won five American Music Awards, five Country Music Assn. Awards, six Academy of Country Music Awards, and six CMTs.

Continue reading »

Gold Derby nuggets: Kate Winslet will keep her Oscar 'in the loo' | Jennifer Hudson names her dogs Oscar and Grammy

February 28, 2009 |  7:36 pm

• Now that she's back in the U.K., Kate Winslet ("The Reader") comes clean about where she plans to keep her Academy Award statuette — right next to the one won by her husband Sam Mendes for directing best picture "American Beauty": "The Oscar's going in the loo, next to Sam's." London Daily Mail

• Oscar's best actor Sean Penn wants President Barack Obama to see "Milk" soon: "Eventually we are hoping for a White House screening. I think this film will be one of the steps forward. It will be part of the dialog." Agence France-Presse

• Two early U.K. investors in "Slumdog Millionaire" — Film4 and Celador — won't get a huge chunk of profits after its Oscar success, according a Brit newspaper. It claims biggest payoffs will go to theaters, distributors, Fox Searchlight and Pathe. London Independent

• A London tabloid reports that the joyous spirit of "Slumdog Millionaire's" Oscars victory didn't last long when one of the young stars returned India. The Sun

Chris Brown and Rihanna are reportedly back together after that nasty clash following a pre-Grammy party. Dish Rag

• A two-time past winner of the Venice Film Festival's Golden Lion will head the fest's next jury: Ang Lee. Associated Press

Jennifer Hudson told Oprah Winfrey on Friday that she's named two of her dogs Oscar and Grammy! She also revealed how wowed she was to receive the Grammy for best R&B album recently from presenter Whitney Houston. "As soon as she stepped out on the stage, I lost it," Jennifer Hudson said. "That's when I got emotional." Chicago Tribune

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Week in Review: Grammys, BAFTA previews and predix | 'Slumdog Millionaire' = Oscars frontrunner | Divas good (Jennifer Hudson) and bad (Etta James)

February 8, 2009 | 11:29 am

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BAFTA AWARDS

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Continue reading »

Jennifer Hudson triumphs at Super Bowl

February 2, 2009 |  2:42 pm

Jennifer Hudson sang her heart out at the Super Bowl Sunday in Tampa. And today, Jennifer Hudson's performance is being compared favorably to the emotional one delivered by Whitney Houston back in 1991 when the Super Bowl was also played in Tampa. Back then, the Gulf War had just begun and Houston's stirring rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" was released as a single and reached the top 20 on Billboard.

Yesterday at the Super Bowl marked Jennifer Hudson's first public appearance since the tragic deaths of her mother, Darnell Donerson, her brother Jason Hudson and nephew Julian King, who were  murdered in their Chicago home Oct. 28. While there has been some hubbub surrounding the obvious fact that Jennifer Hudson lip-synced to a prerecorded track, that was at the request of musical director Rickey Minor.

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Her presence and performance at the Super Bowl earned the 2006 Oscar winner ("Dreamgirls") rave reviews and could put her in the running for the Emmy Award for best individual performance in a variety special, if ruled eligible by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The extraordinary circumstances of her appearance might prove to be akin to Bette Midler winning that same Emmy in 1992 for singing Grammy record of the year "Wind Beneath My Wings" to Johnny Carson upon his retirement from "The Tonight Show." If ruled ineligible because this was a TV sports show,  Hudson might still emerge a winner at the separate Sports Emmys.

Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune said, "She began deliberately, then swung low to bring a chilling resonance to the word 'gleaming.' Though she stretched a few notes, she didn’t oversell the song or her voice. She reveled in its power. The final 'home of the brave' was a howitzer into the heavens." The New York Post thought she sounded "brillz" while the New York Daily News said, "Hudson redefined our national anthem last night as a statement of hope, faith and — yes — even a hint of defiance."

This coming Friday, Hudson will perform at Recording Academy's MusiCares Person of the Year gala honoring Neil Diamond. And next Sunday, she is set to perform live on the Grammy Awards, where she is competing with four nominations for her self-titled debut album.

Read more about how other Oscar winners fared singing at the Super Bowl in the past.

RELATED POST:

Jennifer Hudson sings at Super Bowl today

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Bruce Springsteen a Super Bowl winner

February 2, 2009 |  2:42 pm

Bruce_springsteen_super_bowl

Hey, Oscars voters, were you watching? Bruce Springsteen may have gotten shut out of your Super Bowl of Showbiz when you refused to nominate him for performing the title track to "The Wrestler," but he wowed viewers of that other Super Bowl, the one in Tampa Bay, with his hard-rocking half-time show. While Jennifer Hudson performed a poignant version of the national anthem that hushed the crowd in the pregame, Bruce Springsteen delivered a four-song set at half-time that set the stadium rocking. Both performances may now be nominated by Emmy Award voters next.

As the New York Daily News reported, "The Boss promised Super Bowl viewers a 12-minute party and what the Boss promises, the Boss delivers." The time constraint meant that verses from each of the songs — "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," "Born to Run," "Working on a Dream," and "Glory Days" — had to be cut. However, that did not take away from his performance. As Rolling Stone raved, "More than 70,000 who had been jeering, heckling and cajoling each other for hours were dancing, suddenly all revelers at Bruce’s party." Even the New York Times opined: "He rose to the occasion, but never above it. And Springsteen, a reliable left-winger — when he described his band’s sound as 'righteous,' it had a splash of double-meaning grit — didn’t use his platform to advocate for anything more pressing than louder volume."

'It's not a concert, but a teaser — and it was, admittedly, an entertaining one — for Springsteen's upcoming tour," writes Todd Martens in the L.A. Times' Pop & Hiss blog.

Bruce Springsteen has had a very busy few weeks. On Jan. 11, he won the Golden Globe for his title track to the film "The Wrestler." A week later, he was a stand-out in the all-star lineup for the inaugural concert of President Barack Obama. On Jan. 22, he was snubbed by the members of the music branch of the academy when his tune did not number among the three songs that scored Oscar nominations. This omission was even more surprising given that Springsteen won an Oscar in 1993 for the song "Streets of Philadelphia" from the film "Philadelphia." And he was nominated two years later for the title song of "Dead Man Walking" but lost to "Colors of the Wind" from "Pocahontas."

Just as Jennifer Hudson was not the first Oscar winner to sing the national anthem — Cher (1987 lead actress winner, "Moonstruck") did in 1999 — so too was Springsteen not the first Oscar winner to appear in the half-time show. In 2000, Phil Collins did so just weeks before winning an Oscar for the song "You'll Be in My Heart" from "Tarzan." In 2005, Paul McCartney performed at half-time. 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 two years ago, Prince — the 1984 song score winner for "Purple Rain" — headlined the half-time concert.

Photo credit: Win McNamee / Getty Images

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Jennifer Hudson sings at Super Bowl today

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Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson to sing at Super Bowl

January 14, 2009 |  4:54 pm

While the Oscars are referred to as the Super Bowl of entertainment, that football one has a surprising (and long-running) connection to the awardsfest. This year the NFL has enlisted Jennifer Hudson, the best supporting actress of 2006, to sing the national anthem at the Feb. 1 festivities in Tampa, Fla. This will be the first public appearance for the "Dreamgirls" star since her mother Darnell Donerson, brother Jason Hudson, and nephew Julian King were murdered in their Chicago home Oct. 28.

Jennifer_hudson_oscars_super_bowl

Expect 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. The following year, Houston made her movie debut in "The Bodyguard" but did not sing the two Oscar-nominated songs — "I Have Nothing" and "Run to You" — at the 1993 Oscars, leaving the warbling to Natalie Cole. Houston did appear on the 1999 show to duet on the Oscar-winning power ballad "When You Believe" from "The Prince of Egypt" with Mariah Carey. However, the following year, the troubled singer was bounced from the Oscar lineup just hours before the show and replaced by Faith Hill for a medley of songs.

Another Oscar winner, Bruce Springsteen, will be performing during the half-time show this year. 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." Springsteen could well be a nominee again this year for his Golden Globe-winning title track for "The Wrestler."

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 in 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.

OSCAR CHAMP CHER AT THE SUPER BOWL

L.A. Times Photo by Al Selb


Scenes from the Hollywood Film Festival Awards

October 28, 2008 |  1:16 pm

Unfortunately, the memory card in my portable camera filled up before the award show's grand finale when Angelina Jolie ambushed the crowd at the Beverly Hilton and presented the director of the year award to Clint Eastwood. Also before fun riffs at the podium by Josh Brolin and Dustin Hoffman, but I managed to grab video vignettes of Ben Stiller, Kristin Scott Thomas, John Patrick Shanley and James Franco.

Stiller is particularly naughty as he joshes about these awards that are fairly new on the scene. In a desperate effort to come out before any rival and thus launch the annual derby season, the Hollywood Awards are even bestowed before industry insiders have seen the films being honored!

Over at her Dish Rag blog, Elizabeth Snead has a post — with pix! — about Rob Pattinson getting the newcomer of the year award.

By the way, let's clear up some misreported news about Jennifer Hudson. Yes, she and her "Secret Life of Bees" costars were originally scheduled to receive an award for ensemble of the year, but the category wasn't dropped last night due to her personal tragedy this past weekend.

Actually, the award was pulled two weeks ago when it became clear that all of the chief "Bees" actresses (Hudson, Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning) could not be present together at the Beverly Hilton due to schedule conflicts. However, Hudson was hailed last night in opening remarks from emcee Mary Hart, who expressed condolences to her and her family on behalf of the Hollywood Film Festival.


Jennifer Hudson dishes on 'Sex and the City,' singing and Oscar fashions

May 19, 2008 |  3:29 pm

Jennifer_hudson

What has Jennifer Hudson been busy doing since she won the supporting-actress Oscar for "Dreamgirls" last year? Lensing a supporting turn in "Sex and the City: The Movie" as Sarah Jessica Parker's wide-eyed assistant, as well as two other movies. And recording a song for the "SATC" soundtrack as well as her long-awaited first album, due out in September just in time for Grammy consideration. As Hudson explains to Entertainment Weekly, "When I'm acting I don't sing, and when I'm recording I'm not acting."

To read the rest of the interview, including her thoughts on that god-awful metallic jacket which ended up outshining her Oscar - CLICK HERE.

(Photo: L.A. Times)


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