Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson teaming for ‘Hairspray Live!’ duet

BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – When “Hairspray Live!” comes to an end around 11 p.m. Dec. 7, it will be with a special music moment that fans of a couple of mega-lunged singers might not want to miss.

Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson are teaming for the song, “Come So Far,” which was written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman for the 2007 movie version of “Hairspray.”

Although it was determined that the song really didn’t fit anywhere in the live TV musical that will air on NBC at 8 p.m. Dec. 7, executive producer Craig Zadan was determined to use it.

“We listened to the song recently and we thought, boy, if you listen to those lyrics, it’s just so much about where the country is right now, where we are right now. It looks back and it looks forward at the same time,” Zadan said earlier this month on the set of the Kenny Leon-directed musical in California. “When you hear it, you’ll fall on the floor.”

That seems to be the reaction Grande had when she learned she and Hudson would share the song.

“That question is crazy, by the way. That you just asked me that? It’s too much,” a clearly jazzed Grande said when asked what it was like to work on the song with R&B powerhouse. “It’s really exciting. Singing with Jennifer is unbelievable. Singing with Maddie (Baillio, who plays Tracy Turnblad) is incredible. Being on a set with (Kristin Chenoweth) is crazy to me.”

Grande is an avowed “Hairspray” apostle and contacted the producers about being cast in the show.

Her presence immediately enlivened the set.

“Her first day on set…she was just so perfectly a leader. She stepped on set, she knew her lines, she was really convincing,” Leon said. “She’s just been, like a joy to work with.

The soundtrack to “Hairspray Live!” will be released on Dec. 2.

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