Jennifer Hudson: Super Bowl Performance With Sandy Hook Students Was “Emotional” and “Overwhelming”

Jennifer Hudson performs "America The Beautiful" with the Sandy Hook Elementary School Chorus prior to the start of Super Bowl XLVII between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Jennifer Hudson managed to hold back her tears Sunday, Feb. 3 while performing with the Sandy Hook Elementary School children's choir at the Super Bowl in the Superdome in New Orleans — but it wasn't easy. The singer, 31, opened up on the TODAY show Monday about singing "America the Beautiful" with the 26 young students following the Dec. 14 mass shooting that killed 20 of their young classmates and six school officials at their school in Newtown, Conn.

"It was emotional," the Smash actress admitted. "I got to meet them (at rehearsal) and we went over the song, and … I couldn't get through the song because it was so overwhelming. Before we went out I hugged each and every one of them, and then we prayed a little bit, and then we got out there."

Hudson first met with the group of students and their families earlier in the week after they were flown to New Orleans by the NFL.

How was the Grammy-winning singer and mom to son David, 3, able to hold back her emotions while performing? "Little children being survivors like that . . . that is the part that took me back in," Hudson explained. "They are conquerors, they are survivors. And they're babies. So that was overwhelming."

Before taking the field during the pre-game show, Hudson tweeted. "Such a privilege to be performing with the Sandy Hook elementary chorus at the Super Bowl today." 

After Hudson and the kids finished their touching performance, she wrote, "Such an amazing time! I am grateful! God bless America."

For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!