Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jennifer Hudson and Michael Buble' Made Musical History On ABC's "I’ll Be Home for Christmas" Special

Watch full-length video of the Christmas special from last night on the best pop culture blog around!  Also, nominate your favorite pop culture blog for the prestigious "Pop Culture Bloggie" Award at Enspyre 1 American Pop Culture Blog.

My eyes and ears were all abuzz in great anticipation as I sat down to watch Jennifer Hudson:  I’ll Be Home for Christmas on ABC last night with special guest, Michael Bublé.  Jennifer Hudson sang wonderful holiday tunes, visited her old high school, family members, the church she grew up singing in, and a few other sights around her hometown of Chicago, Illinois.
Picture of Jennifer Hudson, I’ll Be Home for Christmas
Throughout this divine musical show, the audience was taken on an entertainment tour of sorts, back to Jennifer Hudson's life prior to becoming a major star, even before her days on American Idol.  The "Ghost of Christmas Past" took us along for the ride to Dunbar Vocational Career Academy, Pleasant Gift M.B. Church, and other popular Chicago landmarks like Navy Pier, Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River.

In video below, Jennifer takes us to her church. She begins the segment by talking about how church has been a great inspiration throughout her life.  Along with a lively Gospel choir, she belts out "Joy to The World," and "Go Tell It On The Mountain," in an uplifting medley of praise.  This scene could wake the dead and make them want to dance a jig!

Jennifer Hudson - Gospel Medley - "Joy To The World" and "Go Tell It On The Mountain"

Watch this video, in which Jennifer Hudson's favorite vocal music teacher from high school and current Dunbar high school students weigh in on how the performances affected them.

The songstress may not have won on season three of American Idol in 2004, but she certainly stole the hearts of the world with her pristine voice and lovely spirit, in addition to a Grammy for “Best R&B Album” and an Academy Award for the movie Dreamgirls. With all the personal horrors and heartbreak that she and her family had to endure so publicly when Hudson's mother, brother, and nephew were brutally murdereed last year, this idol proves that she’s more than courageous, always rising to the occasion.  This special glimpse into Jennifer Hudson's personal life and Christmas celebration was no different.

Jennifer Hudson returned home to her native, Chicago for this tasty holiday musical treat, performing some of the most wondrous and whimsical Christmas selections ever written.  In the special, Hudson accomplishes exactly what she sets out to do.  Hudson, her family, and friends bring joy to others during this festive time of year.  Joy always comes when listening to Jennifer Hudson sing.

Seeing the Academy Award winner with her family was quite touching, as they got into the Christmas spirit.  Her young son David,  Jr. and his father, David Ortunga are quite obviously sources of sheer love and inspiration for Hudson.  It was also a treat to see her singing with cousins, who also have lovely voices.
Michael Buble

Michael Bublé, whose latest CD Crazy Love is definitely a hit, having debuted atop the Billboard 200 Chart, serves up his own juice on this special.  Being a guest alongside Hudson, last night’s headliner is no minor feat.  I must say that with Bublé's silky-smooth vocal talent, he was a wise choice indeed.  The two teamed up to beautify and add sparkle to two Christmas standards, "Baby It's Cold Outside" and "Let It Snow."  I was on the edge of my seat in awe.  These two duets were beautifully arranged, amped up, and filled with down-home jazzy inflections.  Justice was done.

Jennifer Hudson & Michael Bublé (Duet) - "Baby It's Cold Outside"

Hudson also performed "Silent Night," "The Christmas Song," Donnie Hathaway's "This Christmas," and "O Holy Night."  The scenery and sounds were absolutely angelic.  Hudson’s soul-stirring rendition of the age-old holiday classic, “Oh, Holy Night,” was mind-blowing, to say the least.  I was reminded of the true meaning of the holidays.

Jennifer Hudson - "This Christmas"

In the following video clip, Jennifer Hudson starts out with a jolly performance at Dunbar High.  She begins the set singing "Give Love On Christmas Day," made popular by The Jackson Five.  She talks a bit about her personal losses, but then moves right along to share some of the things she loves about her hometown of Chicago.

Jennifer Hudson - "Silent Night"

In the notes on Jennifer Hudson’s Facebook Fan Page, she posts, “The special will follow Jennifer back to her roots, to her hometown, her church, and back to the high school music room where she told her teachers, ‘I’m going to be a famous singer.”

It was superb to see the warm welcome the superstar received at her high school, Dunbar Vocational Career Academy, from which she graduated in 1999.  The current students and teachers made strikingly colorful signs and banners to welcome their very own celebrity back home.  Hudson was celebrated home big-time!

When Jennifer Hudson stepped into her former music classroom where Shari Nichols-Sweat, the vocal music teacher who inspired her still teaches, she offered current Dunbar students fierce words of encouragement that are bound to go a long way, as she proclaimed, “Y’all better sing!”  Jennifer credits the school with giving her the confidence to pursue a singing career.  Nichols-Sweat speaks highly of the star in the following video clip referring to the young Jennifer Hudson as, “One of the most determined students I’ve ever seen in my life.”

The cool part is that as Jennifer Hudson later performed onstage for the high schoolers, it became more than obvious just how well they’ve been following her career.  The audience knew and sang the lyrics so well that she stopped singing for a spell and pointed her microphone to the crowd!  What did the teens do next?   Well, of course they did what anyone else would do.  They sang!

(Lyrics from Jennifer Hudson’s Song, “Spotlight”)

“Well I don’t like living under your spotlight
Just because you think I might find somebody worthy
No I don’t like living under your spotlight
Maybe if you treat me right you won’t have to worry”

Jennifer Hudson has a special way of getting to the soul of a person with her voice.  I guess that’s why we stalk her music and movies to this day.  For more great footage of this festive TV special, make sure you visit Idol Stalker.  There, you'll find more great videos and articles on Jennifer Hudson and the other pop culture icons who hail from American Idol.

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