Snap judgment: Jennifer Hudson's 'Spotlight'

I’m not gonna lie: I was a little worried listening to the opening verse of Jennifer Hudson’s new single, "Spotlight." True, the pretty piano riff is reminiscent of Alicia Keys’ "No One," and the lyrics about dealing with a suffocating relationship — "Are you a man who loves and cherishes and cares for me?/ Are you a guard in a prison, maximum security?" — are more interesting that your average pop-R&B clichés. But it all seemed just a wee bit, well, low-octane. I mean, we didn’t fall in love with J.Hud back on season 3 of Idol because of her vocal restraint; we want big, unabashed belting from the woman who won an Oscar for hollerating "And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going" right through the theater walls and directly into that 2 p.m. screening of We Are Marshall next door. Thankfully, J.Hud gets good and warmed up just before the two-minute marker on "Spotlight," and when she declares, "if I’m just love’s prisoner, then I’m bustin’ out," she begins to do just that: Busting out with the riffs and runs, and nailing a saucy bridge in which she chides her man and declares her devotion for him all at once. (Complicated!) No, it’s not quite "Cirrrrrrrrrrrcle of Liiiiife," but it’s a solid post-Dreamgirls kickoff that should do quite nicely at radio. What think you, PopWatchers?

Comments (54 total) Add your comment
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  • Stephanie T.

    Either J-Hud is wearing Spanx or she lost some weight. She looks pretty good.

  • Stephanie T.

    The song is pretty good. It has a mid 1980’s R&B flavor.

  • NineDaves

    i was just searching for this online last night, after reading about it in this week’s ew, of all places. thanks slezak for posting it here. i hope it appears on itunes tomorrow. until then, i’ll just repeating it on youtube all day today…

  • Der Sippy Cup

    Good song. great 80s hook, excellent warm vocal from J. I hope she has a huge hit, she is a sweetheart. The glamour pix are good stuff. Girl looks great with some of the babyfat off.

  • BrandonP

    Love this song right here. I hope she has a huge hit.

  • Cashton

    LOVE IT! I can hear this on the radio for sure. and all you J-hud lovers – she has a single that nobody heard off of Jamie WilliamS album – it’s a cover of Stevie Wonder’s Overjoyed and it’s SENSATIONAL. Slezak – did u ever do a write-up of this song?

  • Lyn

    I like the 80’s vibe. I didn’t hear the piano riff as a direct Alicia Key’s knock-off.

  • Larry

    I love the song! I think that EVERYONE expected the wailing and she does get her diva on later in the song – but I think this is a great first singer who is truly setting herself up as being an artist that lasts.

  • LauraT

    I was really hoping for more. I don’t think the music is worthy of her. I got bored 2/3 of the way through.

  • Erin

    Way boring, didn’t even make it halfway.

  • Phil

    NineDaves, “Spotlight” won’t be on iTunes til Tuesday, June 10th, followed by the self-titled album drops in Sept. The label needs to sell the “Sex And the City” Soundtrack that drops next Tuesday the 27th, in which Hudson contributes “All Dressed In Love”.

  • Todd

    I like it, but I don’t LOVE it. (I admit my expectations were pretty high for her first song)
    I am glad I wasn’t the only one who picked up on the nice 80’s vibe.

  • ♥Delicious Dimples♥


  • KelleyKel

    I love it! Sista’s got her stuff together! She may not win since she does not have a crack habit or done a stint in prison. Love the song and the singer

  • MellieMel

    Decent enough song. There is certainly worse out there. I kinda enjoyed it.

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