The greatest NCAA tournament ever ended with the worst rendition of "One Shining Moment".
CBS was so pleased with getting a name like Jennifer Hudson to sing its annual tournament-ending song that the network basically let her take it over. Hudson shrilly shouted the lyrics and was bizarrely shown multiple times during the montage, making "OSM" more about her than the cheesy celebration of the NCAA tournament that we all know and love.
Here's the clip. You may want to turn down your volume, lest you want Hudson's high-pitched wailing to call all the dogs in your immediate vicinity:
First off, I've changed my mind about Hudson. I wrote last month and spoke on NPR this weekend about how Hudson was a weird choice, but at least she can sing. Listening to her rendition of "One Shining Moment" has me doubting that. She has the pipes, of course, but is yelling the same thing of singing? It was the musical equivalent of a guy with a Harley loudly revving his engine just because he can.
Vocal criticism aside, the montage was too much Hudson, not enough John Wall and Evan Turner. The two top players in college basketball didn't make a single appearance in the montage. Nor did huge, near-buzzer beaters by Jordan Crawford or Ishmael Smith. But seven shots of Jennifer Hudson? "One Shining Moment" had those.
Viewers were angered about both the cuts to Hudson in the studio and the song itself. Many took to Twitter and Facebok to complain. Even CBS acknowledged the backlash, publishing a story about the criticism on its news Web site.
"OSM" doesn't need to be a comprehensive recap of the 63 games, but there's no reason to show Hudson over basketball. This was almost definitely done because it was a stipulation in Hudson's contract that she appear on camera. And CBS would have felt compelled to use her in that way because she's a big star -- even though I'd debate that distinction because other than copying an old performance in "Dreamgirls" and getting kicked off "American Idol", what has Hudson really done? (She wasn't so big that CBS didn't think it couldn't get her to sing a song about basketball and she's not so famous that she didn't turn it down, you know?)
It's not the first time we've ever seen non-basketball clips in "OSM" though, as Luther Vandross appeared briefly in the 2003 version. But that wasn't as bad for two reasons: 1) There was more Carmelo than Luther. 2) It was, as I mentioned, Luther.
Give me more basketball. Give me more highlights. Give me literal interpretations of the song's cheesy lyrics. When "the ball is tipped" introduction is sung, show me a ball being tipped to the smooth strains of Teddy Pendergrass. That's "One Shining Moment," dammit. Not this trainwreck we saw Monday night.
Blog post: See Jennifer Hudson's dramatic weight loss.