The women, who respectively portrayed the beloved character in the Dreamgirls 2006 film and 2016 West End debut, bonded over their shared connection with her story of determination and resilience
Front and center is a position Dreamgirls character Effie White constantly fought to stay in — and the women who have portrayed her in film and on stage carry that uphill battle with them long after the curtains close and the credits roll.
On the latest episode of the Jennifer Hudson Show, Jennifer Hudson welcomed special guest Amber Riley for a heartfelt reprisal of their respective roles as Effie in the Dreamgirls 2006 film and 2016 West End debut.
“I’m sure that you became very close to that character like I became very close with that character and really knew her,” Riley said. “Having her story be this gift and not being able to be out in the front. I felt that, and so I feel like doing things like Masked Singer, doing things like Dancing with the Stars, I get to be triumphant for those stories. I get to be the winner for those stories. It’s just full circle for me.”
Riley was recently crowned the season 8 winner of the singing competition The Masked Singer, during which Ken Jeong was convinced the woman behind the Masked Harp character was actually Hudson. On the Jennifer Hudson Show, the two artists showcased the distinct soul of their voices during a duet of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.”
The host made a game of the performance, standing behind one of the many frosted Christmas trees on stage at the start to allow the audience to guess whether she or Riley’s vocals rang through the studio first.
“Honestly, you know what, if I’m going to be compared to somebody – if you’re going to hear me sing and put Jennifer Hudson next to it, that’s so validating and so flattering,” Riley said earlier in the episode. “It made me feel like I was beaming underneath that mask.”