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Jennifer Hudson sings of love in “Idol” return

jennifer-hudsonA lot has happened to Jennifer Hudson since she last took the stage on “American Idol.” In her highly anticipated return to the show on Wednesday night’s broadcast, Hudson sang “If This Isn’t Love” from her Grammy-winning 2008 debut album.

If the performance was not as poignant as her power ballad “You Pulled Me Through” during the Grammy Awards on Feb. 8, it was a moment to be savored for a singer who has experienced life’s highs and lows since she finished a disappointing seventh in 2004. Ironically, when producers this season introduced a rule allowing them to save one contestant from elimination, Simon Cowell mentioned Hudson’s early exit as a justification for giving him and his fellow judges veto power over America’s votes. And on the same night that viewers saw Hudson’s performance, they saw the judges use their save power to rescue Matt Giraud.

As it turns out, Hudson was not in the studio when it happened. Her performance was taped three weeks ago, and Hudson herself is currently on tour. Judging by a review from a writer with the Atlanta Journal Constitution posted on Wednesday, the tour is going well. “Hudson is a wonder,” the reviewer wrote. “And not just because it is remarkable that she is out in front of audiences mere months after her mother, brother and nephew were killed. But because on the first night of her two-night stand in Atlanta  - the second show being Thursday- this relative newcomer arrived with an ease with the audience that never let on that this is her first tour ever.”

On “Idol” Wednesday night, host Ryan Seacrest (who was careful to dress the same for the pre-tape as for Wednesday’s live broadcast), mentioned Hudson’s Oscar win for her role in the 2006 movie “Dreamgirls” and her Grammy win for best R&B album this year.

“You’ve got an Oscar and a Grammy, what else is left?” Seacrest said.

“I don’t know, well I guess coming back here and singing,” Hudson replied.

How did Hudson do? Was her return everything viewers wanted from the “Idol” favorite?

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