Beyonce's halftime appearance was the talk of the Super Bowl Sunday night, but Jennifer Hudson had a very different kind of emotional performance, as she sang "America the Beautiful" with the Sandy Hook Elementary children's choir during the pregame show.
"It was emotional," she admitted to TODAY's Willie Geist Monday. "I got to meet them (at rehearsal) and we went over the song, and ... I couldn't get through the song because it was so overwhelming. Before we went out I hugged each and every one of them, and then we prayed a little bit, and then we got out there."
Just last year, Hudson's brother-in-law was convicted of shooting her mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew in 2008, which likely contributed to the strong emotions she felt for the children.
"Little children being survivors like that," she added. "They are conquerors, they are survivors. And they're babies. So that was overwhelming."
Geist then asked Hudson -- and "X Factor" judge L.A. Reid, who had joined them on the couch -- to comment on that halftime show everyone's talking about.
"I don't know if (Beyonce) had anything to prove, because anyone that's a real fan knows she's the greatest entertainer alive," said Reid. "She's amazing."
"Beyonce makes you move, honey," said Hudson. "I love Beyonce and I love Destiny's Child -- that to me was another highlight for myself, is being able to be there with Beyonce, Destiny's Child, Alicia Keys. These ladies are people I looked up to, like 'One day I want to be like them.''"
Reid chuckled: "You are like them, you are right there," he told the Oscar and Grammy-winner.
As for Beyonce's reported lip-sync at the presidential inauguration, Hudson waved it off. "It was clearly her professional decision," she insisted. "It's nothing out of the normal in this industry, especially for the national anthem. You cannot miss a beat on a song like that."