WATCH: Jennifer Hudson’s Incredible Performance of ‘The Jeffersons’ Theme Song on ‘Live in Front of a Studio Audience’ Special

LIVE IN FRONT OF A STUDIO AUDIENCE: NORMAN LEAR’S ‘ALL IN THE FAMILY’ AND ‘THE JEFFERSONS’ – ABC’s late-night host Jimmy Kimmel presents a live, 90-minute prime-time event in tribute to classic television sitcoms. “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons'” teams Kimmel with television icon Norman Lear and executive producers Brent Miller, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Justin Theroux. This special, airing live WEDNESDAY, MAY 22 (8:00-9:33 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network, will take viewers down memory lane, recreating an original episode from each of the Emmy(r) Award-winning series “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons.” This legendary night of television will be hosted by Lear and Kimmel, and directed by 10-time Emmy winner James Burrows. (ABC/Eric McCandless)
JENNIFER HUDSON

Jennifer Hudson is moving on up…

The Oscar- and Grammy-winning actress and singer made a surprise performance on Wednesday night’s Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All in the Family and The Jeffersons. Hudson was not a previously announced guest star, but she surprised the studio and home audience with a rousing rendition of The Jeffersons’ theme song “Movin’ On Up.”

Ja’Net DuBois, who co-wrote the song with Jeff Barry, performed the song on the original 1970s series, accompanied by a gospel choir; Hudson performed the song during the 90-minute special with a similar trio of gospel singers backing her up. Over the years, the song has been covered by a wide variety of artists, including Sammy Davis Jr.

While much of the live special’s buzzy cast was announced in advance, including its stars Jamie Foxx and Wanda Skyes, Hudson was not, though she was announced at the top of the show as making a special appearance. At a Tuesday night dress rehearsal which EW and other press attended, she received a standing ovation for her performance. Hudson got into the spirit of the proceedings with 1970s-inspired short, gold wrap dress, hoop earrings, and a groovy afro.

Earlier in the show, previously announced cast Marisa Tomei and Woody Harrelson sang the All in the Family theme song “Those Were the Days” in character as Edith and Archie Bunker, just as was done on the original series.

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SOURCE: Entertainment Weekly – Maureen Lee Lenker