Life after ‘American Idol’: Jennifer Hudson on ‘Hairspray,’ Sundance Head, Kelly Clarkson

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HAIRSPRAY LIVE! -- Pictured: (l-r) Maddie Baillio as Tracy Turnblad, Ephraim Sykes as Seaweed J. Stubbs, Ariana Grande as Penny Pingleton, Jennifer Hudson as Motormouth Maybelle -- (Photo by: NBC)

This was posted Thursday, December 8, 2016 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Jennifer Hudson drew near universal plaudits for her rendition of “I Know Where I’ve Been” during Wednesday night’s “Hairspray Live!” directed by Atlanta’s Kenny Leon. (The show itself received great reviews across the board although ratings were less than stellar, relatively speaking: 9 million overnight viewers compared to 13 million for “The Wiz” a year ago and worst of the four live musicals NBC has aired the past four years.)

Hudson played Motormouth Maybelle with aplomb. As Vanity Fair noted, she “handily belted the inspirational ballad about racial inequality, serving up the stunning vocal range her fans have come to expect.”

Twitter fans were thrilled.

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Former season 6 “Idol” semifinalist Sundance Head could very well win season 11 of “The Voice” nine years after the fact.

He is now in the finals and is one of the favorites for sure, along with comeback kid Billy Gilman, who had a top 40 country hit as a kid but is now trying to go pop. Head covered the Judds’ 1991 hit “Love Can Build a Bridge” and did better than any other contestant on iTunes.

Josh Gallagher, surprisingly saved by America, has no chance. (Ali Caldwell should have taken his spot.) We McDonald has an outside shot, if somehow Gilman and Head split the vote.

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NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 01: Singer-Songwriter Phillip Phillips attends 10th Annual Stand Up For Heroes at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on November 1, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 01: Singer-Songwriter Phillip Phillips attends 10th Annual Stand Up For Heroes at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on November 1, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

The Gainesville cancer charity concert on December 9 featuring Phillip Phillips was cancelled at the last second with no explanation. An organizer sent out a letter, citing “unforeseen events” but provided no more details.

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Pentatonix at Lakewood Amphitheatre in 2015 opening for Kelly Clarkson. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com

Next Wednesday on December 14, Pentatonix will gets its first Christmas special on NBC and Kelly Clarkson will take part.

Pentatonix opened for Clarkson on her last tour before she had her second child. Clarkson’s friend Reba McEntire will also be on the show. Pentatonix, who won “The Sing Off” a few years ago, has now released three Christmas albums. Clarkson’s “Wrapped in Red” Christmas album came out in 2013 and she herself had her own NBC special that year.


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