Was Jennifer Hudson Paid to Sing at the Super Bowl?

Inside dish on the Super Bowl performance

By Leslie Gornstein Feb 02, 2009 11:01 PMTags
Jennifer HudsonWin McNamee/Getty Images

Watching Jennifer Hudson at Super Bowl XLIII, I thought she sounded amazing, but was she lip-synching? Also, did she get paid to sing the national anthem?
—YRD, U. Pittsburgh

Yep, she sure did mouth that "land of the free." No live singing there. Then again, Jennifer Hudson was under orders not to warble—from preshow producer Rickey Minor. Minor told Us Weekly, "There's too many variables to go live. I would never recommend any artist go live, because the slightest glitch would devastate the performance."

Then again, you get what you pay for, which was, in this case...

...zero dollars.

A spokeswoman for the NFL tells me: "We do not pay talent to sing the national anthem, and that includes the Super Bowl."

And that makes sense, music manager Debbie Fontaine tells me. After all, there were nearly 90 million eyeballs watching all those human refrigerators in tights smash into one another. That's a big, juicy, tempting audience, even for an Oscar winner like Hudson.

"It's very standard not to be paid for singing the national anthem at major events," Fontaine tells me. And that applies to other sports as well. 

"We've been approached by promotions companies for the NBA who offered the opportunity for our artists to sing the anthem or perform at halftime in exchange for direct audience exposure and nothing else."

Even the fabled Jonas Brothers don't necessarily charge for performances during pro sports matchups. That massive gig they had at the Thanksgiving Dallas Cowboys game, the one they did to promote Salvation Army charities?

That was free, too. Oh, those Jonas Brothers. They can do no wrong.

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