If I ever run into Jennifer Hudson at a Weight Watchers meeting, I’m going to have to bop that girl upside the head. In Sunday’s episode of Oprah Behind the Scenes, we learned that the still-svelte crooner almost prompted Oprah Winfrey and her team to cancel their first show ever — the equivalent of Armageddon within the Harpo Studios walls. The irony of BTS, which is meant to chronicle what Winfrey describes as “the best team in the business,” is that it’s at its juiciest when something goes wrong on Oprah. So while wreaking havoc on the good people of Harpo, Hudson also inadvertently helped to deliver the best episode to date of BTS.
Let’s recap: That wicked blizzard in Chicago last February forced the postponement of the special soaps reunion, so the Oprah team scheduled not two but three (very rare) tapings on one jam-packed, butt-cold Friday. Everything looked as if it were going to go off without a hitch, until Hudson skipped town after her rehearsal Thursday evening without telling anyone that she had a previous (see: no doubt highly paid) engagement at the home of Jerry Jones in Dallas. The sneak probably would have gotten away with it, had an ice storm not hit Texas and forced her to miss a flight back to Chicago. At 4:45 a.m. on the day of the taping, Hudson’s publicist alerted Harpo that her client might be a leeeeeeettle late. Way to go, J. Hud!
What’s been so great about BTS is that with each week, we’ve seen Winfrey more and more unplugged – and tonight was no exception. Though the show spared us those expletive-fueled moments that probably raged on once the staff learned of Hudson’s whereabouts, Winfrey still appeared on camera (and without makeup) looking angry and demanding fast answers — just like a professional should behave if an idiot guest pulled a boneheaded move like this one. My first reaction was to scream out to Winfrey to CANCEL THE DANG SHOW but if that happened, the Queen of Daytime couldn’t have drilled Hudson about the actual number of pounds she lost on WW. (Memo to her WW coach sitting in the audience: I have attended meetings. We live for little milestones like 5- and 10-pound losses. Don’t give me and the millions of women in Winfrey’s loyal audience a line of crap that it’s all about how you feel, rather than how much you’ve lost. Good lord.)
In the end, Hudson made it to the studio (two hours late!) and revealed how much she lost (80 freakin pounds!) so Winfrey got a great episode for her talk show and a marvelous one for her fledging reality show on OWN. Unfortunately, soap fans were only treated to a quick scene or two from the soaps reunion — which in retrospect, was a pretty bittersweet affair since no one knew at the time that ABC would ultimately yank All My Children and One Life to Live. At least Genie Francis got a fulltime gig on CBS out of the appearance.
I dig BTS and can’t wait for the final episode that will chronicle Winfrey’s much-anticipated finale, set to tape May 25. What did you think of Sunday’s episode?
You still count points like nobody’s business, J. Hud. @EWLynette