Christmas Day 2006 and auditorium #19 atSugar Land's First Colony Mall
was packed for the 11:40 a.m. showing of
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. Every seat had been sold and ushers had to enforce some last minute re-arranging so everyone could sit (although one guy waited till they left and then resumed standing in the aisle for the entire 130-minute movie).
Halfway through the film was the big moment that has already become legend. Jennifer Hudson, cast out from American Idol, but victorious in the film role of Effie that she fought so hard to get, does her big show stopper number "And I Am Telling You I Am Not Going." And like reports of other audiences across America, this Houston-area audience cheered. They clapped, whistled, hollered; they did everything you do at a concert, at a one-in-a-lifetime live performance except stand up (can't lose those seats).
Hometown girl Beyonce Knowles got a round of applause for her song that followed a little while later. It was nice. It was pleasant. But the passion and the fire, that was Jennifer Hudson. And it made for a memorable Christmas, not only for those folks, but the long line of people snaking out of the building waiting for the next show. - Margaret Downing