Jennifer Hudson and fellow American Idol alum Adam Lambert busted out a serious high-brow, deep cut duet on The Jennifer Hudson Show: the classic aria from Giacomo Puccini’s opera Turandot, “Nessun dorma.”
As Lambert explains in a brief interview before the performance, he learned the song in an opera course he took in high school, describing the class as “really good training,” similar to a dancer studying a bit of ballet. And though he learned a lot, he mostly left that world behind.
Then, this summer, Lambert and Queen were touring Italy, and during soundcheck, Lambert says “Nessun dorma” popped into his head: “I was singing it to myself, and Brian [May] heard me and goes, ‘Oh you know that song?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, yeah, I know that song.’ So I just started singing it impromptu in rehearsal, and he started accompanying me. It was this moment that happened, and we all said, ‘Let’s just do it tonight!’”
Hudson — who’s performed “Nussun dorma” on multiple occasions — then requested that the pair sing a little bit of the aria together (with the help of pianist Michael Orland, with whom Hudson and Lambert worked on American Idol). Of course, both singers put on a show-stopping vocal powerhouse display, but there were still some delightfully chaotic moments, like right after Lambert hit some crazy high notes and quipped, “This key is really high!”
After the performance, however, Hudson had nothing but praise for Lambert’s vocal range, saying, “When you do opera songs — any song — and you have two ranges, a male vocalist and a female vocalist, it’s almost impossible to sing the song in the same key. But the way you got up there? Only you could do something like that!”
Lambert’s full appearance on The Jennifer Hudson Show airs later today, Oct. 19.