March 10, 2010
If loving "One Shining Moment" is wrong, then I've never wanted to be right. But with the recent announcement that Oscar and Grammy winner/over-singer Jennifer Hudson will take over the song for this year's NCAA tournament, I may have to reconsider that position.
CBS announced this week that Hudson recorded a new rendition of "OSM" last month and that it will air at the conclusion of the men's national championship game on April 3. She will be the fourth artist to perform the song for the network, following singer/songwriter David Barrett (1987-1993, 2000-2002), Teddy Pendergrass (1994-1999) and Luther Vandross (2002-2009).
It's a pretty obvious choice; Hudson is known for her soaring vocals and inspirational recordings, so "One Shining Moment" is right up her alley. Whether you like it or not, it's impossible to deny that the song is the height of schmaltz. My fear is that Hudson's voice will only intensify that feeling.
To me, the ultimate rendition was from Pendergrass. Even if you thought the song was cheesy, what were you going to do about it? Say something to Teddy P? I think not. (Eddie Murphy summed it up best in "Delirious." Warning: NSFW language on that link.)
Here's the classic Teddy rendition:
That's smooth, silky and a little bit intimidating, sort of like a musical version of Randolph Childress. Considering that Pendergrass passed in January, running his version would have been a grand tribute. But, like I said, I get the Hudson thing. She's a big star. Plus, if the NCAA opts out of its contract and takes the tournament to ESPN, this might be the last time CBS shows "One Shining Moment."
Perhaps I'm being unfair to Ms. Hudson though. Maybe I just miss Teddy P. Maybe I have an inherent bias against people who didn't even finish ahead of this guy on their season of "American Idol." Or maybe Hudson was so good in "Dreamgirls" that I'm unfairly projecting my disdain for Effie upon her. It's probably a combination of the three. Hudson is a great singer. Though she won't bring the raw, yet delicate, machismo to "OSM" that Pendergrass did, I'm sure she'll do fine.
So you go ahead, Jennifer. Sing the hell out of "One Shining Moment." And like always, I'll be watching with goosebumps. (Unless your version airs over clips of Duke celebrating a title. Then we'll have problems.)