Jennifer Hudson is one of those singers who you’d think would have tons of big hits. After all, she’s already halfway to becoming one of Tracy Jordan’s coveted EGOT’s, and everyone knows she has the vocal chops. But I’m happy Jennifer has stuck with traditional R&B instead of chasing after Rihanna-style crossover success. My absolute favorite The Prophet Blog calls Jennifer’s new single “Where You At” a “snoozefest,” but I really like it.
When I first heard the recording, I was blown away by the very end, when Jennifer holds a sustained belted high A for a full four seconds as the song fades out. I never thought she could pull it off live. I didn’t think it was studio trickery per se, but there are literally no female singers in the game today who could come close to attempting this note and I assumed she basically got lucky on one amazing take. When she completely ducked this final note on her first live performance of the single on Oprah, I was disappointed but not surprised.
But then she performed again on Ellen’s show, and went for it. And she NAILED it perfectly (the high A’s start at around 3:20 on the word “deliver”).
I’m in awe. To put this in context, Mariah Carey (who is most famous for her range) has never attempted a live high A in chest voice to my knowledge, and only tried to briefly hit a few high G’s (a full step lower) during a handful of 1993-1994 performances of “Anytime You Need a Friend.” But they sounded like crap, and she never brought them back. So major props to Jennifer for taking the risk — and succeeding.