Talk about a tough act to follow. There wasn't a dry eye in the Superdome when Jennifer Hudson took the stage with the Sandy Hook Elementary choir before the match-up between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans on Sunday, Feb. 3.
Backed by a group of 26 children from Newtown, Conn. -- where 20 children and six adults were killed by gunman Adam Lanza in a mass shooting on Dec. 14 -- the 31-year-old Smash actress brought down the house with a moving performance of "America the Beautiful," while wearing a Monika Chiang leather bodysuit. (All 26 students and their families were flown in to the Big Easy by the NFL earlier in the week to rehearse with the Grammy-winning singer.)
"Such a privilege to be performing w/ the Sandy Hook Elementary chorus at the #SuperBowl today," Hudson tweeted a few hours prior to the game. "We go on just before kickoff!"
Incidentally, the Super Bowl is where the Dreamgirls Oscar winner first performed following her own personal tragedy a few years ago. In 2009, just a few months after the October 2008 murders of her mother, brother, and nephew, she got things started at Super Bowl XLIII with a soulful rendition of the national anthem.
This year's pre-game show with the Sandy Hook choir is one of many efforts on behalf of the NFL to honor the memories of the 26 Newtown victims. In the wake of the shooting, many players emblazoned their helmets, cleats, and gloves with messages of support for the Newtown community, and several games held moments of silence in tribute.
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