NBC’s latest live musical event, Hairspray Live! aired Wednesday night with an impressive take on the eight-time Tony winning 2002 musical Hairspray.
The hilarious and heartfelt snapshot of Baltimore in the 1960s has been adapted for the screen on more than one occasion; John Waters’ 1988 cult classic featured Ruth Brown in the role of R&B DJ Maybelle “Motormouth” Stubbs, while 2007’s take featured Queen Latifah in the role that was reprised during last night’s live broadcast event by Jennifer Hudson.
Hairspray Live! included a number of stand out performances from the cast, which included Kristen Chenoweth, Derek Hough, Ariana Grande and Martin Short, but Hudson’s rendition of “I Know Where I’ve Been,” a song her character performs to her son and his friends during a time of segregation and overt racism in America, was a true show stopper. Those pipes! That emotion! Those notes! That wig! It was in a word, perfection.
While the cast of Hairspray Live! was packed with heavy hitters from Broadway and the pop charts, it was Hudson’s solo that left us in shock with its beauty, vulnerability and raw emotion. Of course, the Oscar and Grammy winner has given us lots of reasons to anticipate her performance, from her role in 2006’s Dreamgirls to performing on Broadway in 2015’s The Color Purple to her three solo albums. Screen, stage, recording booth – J. Hud can do it all.
Followoing her unbelievable solo, Hudson returned to the stage later with Ariana Grande as the two closed the show with a duet of the timely “Come So Far (Got So Far To Go).”
— Ariana Grande Update (@DailyArianaNews) December 8, 2016