Clive Davis revealed the news Saturday night at his annual pre-Grammys party, where the singer performed a medley of Franklin's hits—including "Respect," "Rock Steady" and "Think." While introducing her performance, Davis said Hudson had "been anointed by Aretha herself."
Calling Hudson "a transcendent performer," Davis—who signed both singers to his record label—added, "She stops any and every show she's in. Her voice is truly incredible. When they ask, 'Where's the next Aretha? Where will the next Aretha will come from?' I say, 'It's her." A "humbled" Hudson confirmed the casting news via Instagram Sunday, telling her 2 million followers, "I don't even know what to say...Look at God!" She also thanked Franklin for the role.