Jennifer Hudson Chokes Back Tears Singing “I Will Always Love You”

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 Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

She did Whitney proud.

Besides perhaps Adele, Jennifer Hudson was the most anticipated performer at Sunday’s Grammys — even though she signed on to the awards show just one day ago.

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Hudson, 30, was tapped to memorialize the late Whitney Houston (found dead Saturday afternoon in her hotel room in Beverly Hills) in a truly daunting way — by lending her voice to the biggest hit of Houston’s legendary career, “I Will Always Love You.”

Jennifer Hudson tribute for whitney
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After the annual segment of the show dedicated to music greats who passed away in the past year — including Amy Winehouse, Etta James and Clarence Clemons, among others — Hudson cautiously ascended to stage center for the gut-wrenching goodbye ballad.

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Choking back tears, the Dreamgirls star offered a stripped-down, elegant version of the classic song (sung by Houston on The Bodyguard soundtrack and written by Dolly Parton) — all the more impressive considering the nerve-wracking rehearsals began only Sunday morning.  A backstage source told Us Hudson began “sobbing hysterically” while practicing the song.

Tell Us: What did you think of Hudson’s performance?

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