After a reported bout with food poisoning that sent her to the emergency room this past weekend, Jennifer Hudson was back on stage at the Ed Sullivan Theater at apparent full strength for her Live on Letterman streaming concert.
Entering dramatically behind the audience through a haze of smoke, the singer-actress made her way into the historic New York city venue in tall strappy black heels, a short black ensemble, hair slicked straight down her back, hand on her hip and immediately magazine cover ready.
And as if to underline that point, her first song? “Feeling Good.” As in “It’s a new dawn/a new day/a new life, for me/ and I’m feeling good!” (You know it from the Weight Watchers commercials).
And longtime R&B fans might have felt like they knew her next offering from decades ago, as the Alicia Keys’-penned “Angel” is very reminiscent of late soul great Teena Marie’s “I Need Your Lovin’,” in spirit and saunter. Two songs later though, she was instantly recognizable Jennifer, roaring the R. Kelly production “Where You At” like the Oscar and Grammy Award winner was back on “American Idol -Season 3,” still in search of an audience.
But no that was clearly not the case Monday as hundreds packed the intimate performance (including the industry legend who signed her, Clive Davis) with thousands more watching online, and reveling in her soul power.
From there, Hudson eased into a set of numbers that may have occasionally given English teachers fits (if they were reading what she was she saying, instead of listening.) After “No One Gonna Love You” the usually reserved performer had two background dancers join her full band (including fellow “Idol” alum Gorge Huff on vocals) on “Why Is It So Hard.”
Then she segued into a set of numbers that may give English teachers fits – if they were reading what she was she saying, instead of listening.
“Bear with me,” she said playfully as she donned an audience member’s hat and actually tried out some dance moves. “It’s all in fun.”
Brief fun, because soon enough she was back to belting into the microphone on the title track of her latest album, “I Remember Me,” and the closer – and quite apt – “I Got This.”
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