Welcome back, Jennifer Hudson!
I can exclusively tell you that Ms. Hudson will return to the stage for the first time since her horrific family tragedy at next month's Super Bowl.
The Grammy-nominated songbird will sing the national anthem before the big gridiron game on Feb. 1 in Tampa, Fla.
"She certainly can nail it,'" a source just told me. "She proved it at the Democratic National Convention."
The Chicago native performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the Democratic National Convention when Sen. Barack Obama accepted his party's nomination in August.
Hudson has not performed or made any public appearances since her mother, Darnell Donerson, brother Jason Hudson and nephew Julian King were shot to death a little over two months ago. William Balfour, the estranged husband of Hudson's sister Julia, has been charged with their murders.
There had been rumors that Hudson would perform at the inaugural on Tuesday as well as reports that she's on the bill for the MusiCares tribute to Neil Diamond the night before the Grammys next month. There's no truth to the inaugural rumor, and I'm told the Diamond gig is yet to be decided.
Hudson is up for four Grammys for her self-titled album, including Best R&B Album, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, Best R&B Song for "Spotlight" and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals for her duet with Fantasia, "I'm His Only Woman."
(Originally published Jan. 13, 2009 at 4:57 p.m. PT)