Jennifer Hudson Delivers a Tribute to Aretha Franklin During Her First-Ever CMA Awards Performance
By Mona Khalifeh
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Jennifer Hudson brought down the house with her performance of Aretha Franklin's track, "Night Life," at the 55th annual CMA Awards on Wednesday. Hudson made her debut, live on the CMA stage from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, alongside Chris Stapleton and a soulful band.
After lending his hands on the guitar, the country star lent his voice to a moving rendition of "You Are My Sunshine," which quickly turned into a gospel-like performance that he and Hudson belting out the lyrics.
Their performance was met with cheers and a standing ovation from the CMAs audience, which saw stars like Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman, singing along and dancing to Hudson's terrific tribute to the Queen of Soul.
The singer, actress and star of the acclaimed Aretha Franklin biographical musical drama, Respect, hit the carpet ahead of the awards show in a stunning, red, custom Dolce & Gabbana floor-length gown that featured a lace bodice, a thigh-high slit, and lace leggings underneath. She paired the look with matching lace gloves, wearing her hair in a short bob, while keeping her makeup simple, opting to go for a dark red lipstick that matched the deep tone of the dress.
ET spoke to Hudson at the premiere of the biopic in August, where she revealed one of Franklin's last requests of her.
"I got to tribute her a lot, and one of her last requests was for me to sing 'Skylark,' which I am going to do and there are a couple of others, but I can't think of them right but I know that's one of the standards and I'm in love with the standards now so I have to singer the standards," she explained at the time. "I love 'Accentuate The Positive,' 'This Bitter Earth.' I am a fan, OK? So, I have discovered so much more music during this whole process."
The 2021 CMA Awards aired Nov. 10 at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.