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Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson, and Fantasia Perform At Aretha Franklin Grammy Tribute

Matt Beck

Matt Beck

Star-studded line up of vocalists pay major R-E-S-P-E-C-T to Aretha Franklin on Grammy tribute.


CBS gathered a dream team of performers for the unique occasion, and American Idol was in the house!

Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson, and Fantasia all lit up the stage along with an impressive list of todays top singers in, Aretha! A Grammy Celebration for the Queen of Soul.

MICHAEL OCHS ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES

Putting together a lineup worthy of one of the worlds most iconic singers is no easy task. For that reason, the Grammy’s pulled out the big guns and presented a heavenly list of vocal talent.


Tyler Perry hosted the tribute featuring jaw-dropping performances paying homage to the Queen of Soul. Also, three of American Idol’s most talented alumni were among those given the privilege to perform.

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Jennifer Hudson kicked off the show with her renditions of two of Aretha’s most iconic songs, “Respect” and “Think”. Hudson shined in a powerful performance that Aretha herself would pay respect to.

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Kelly Clarkson serenaded the audience with a powerful rendition of “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You”. Clearly the audience was thoroughly impressed. As a result Clarkson received an approving nod from Clive Davis, Aretha’s long time friend.


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Fantasia Barrino hit the stage as part of a quartet that wrapped up the show. Fantasia was joined by Alessia Cara, Brandi Carlile, Andra Day to sing, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” The women delivered a perfect balance of smooth harmonies and sheer vocal power that did justice for the song. Also Fantasia performed a duet with Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty.

CBS

Another representative of singing competitions, the new judge of The Voice John Legend also performed. The multitalented musician delivered his own cover of Aretha Franklin’s rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”.

Other Performers

During the tribute we were fortunate enough to be blessed with a beautiful medley by Alicia Keys and SZA. The duo performed a few of Aretha’s famed tracks displaying immense skill and cohesion.

An interesting twist in the tribute was the choice of Celine Dion covering Sam Cooke’s, “A Change is Gonna Come”. As a result Celine pulled off a performance that may have stolen the show.

Backed by images from the civil rights era, Celine sang with deep intensity and raw attitude that cut through in every note. Furthermore, Dion spoke with Entertainment Tonight about getting the opportunity to take part in such an important tribute.

“I feel extremely, extremely fortunate and honored that they called me to pay tribute to her because I think that we all took through the years a little part of her,” Dion said. “We did not sing her tonight, we lived her.”

Additionally the concert featured: Patti LaBelle, Janelle Monae, Yolanda Adams, Common, H.E.R., Chloe x Halle, Shirley Caeser, and Bebe Winnans.

Aretha lives on through her music forever and her influence is clearly felt today. Certainly the show delivered a throughly impressive line-up for a woman who couldn’t have deserved it more.

The fact that Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson, and Fantasia were all invited says a lot for American Idol. Seems like Idol is clearly doing it’s job of cultivating extraordinary singers.

To watch American Idol tune into ABC Sunday 8 p.m.

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