Jennifer Hudson speaks during the #SohoJeansSingOff hosted by New York & Company with Jennifer Hudson at Marquee on July 22, 2015 in New York City.
Credit: Johnny Nunez/Getty Images

One after the other, a diverse lineup of New York’s most fearless amateur performers took the spot-lit stage of the city’s Marquee dance club to energetically serenade Jennifer Hudson last night. In her New York & Company Canadian tuxedo, which she accessorized with a tan polka-dotted headband and bold red lip for “a little bit of sass,” the Grammy award–winning hit-maker grooved to '90s favorites like 'N Sync​’s “Tearing Up My Heart,” Notorious B.I.G.’s “Big Poppa,” and Color Me Badd’s “I Wanna Sex You Up.”

But despite the fact that Hudson warmly praised each karaoke-goer, it was a handsome, denim-wearing man’s performance of TLC’s “Waterfalls”—you bet he rapped all of the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes’s verse flawlessly—that brought Hudson onto her heel-adorned feet for an infectious side-to-side hand wave. Though the song-belting vocalist didn't join the courageous performers—perhaps the reason why they were all so relaxed—all eyes were still fixated on Hudson's moves. For the rest of the evening, the freshly-minted New Yorker, who just moved from Chicago to prepare for a starring role in the Broadway adaptation of The Color Purple this fall, said hello to friends like director Spike Lee, stylist June Ambrose, and Orange Is the New Black actress Danielle Brooks.

Hudson stepped away from the blaring music and rotating cocktails to chat with InStyle about the reason she can’t stop listening to OMI’s “Cheerleader”--and more.

New York & Company's Soho Jeans Collection launch's featured karaoke at Marquee on July 22, 2015 in New York City.
Credit: Naomi Driessnack for

It’s karaoke night. What are your go-to karaoke songs?

I always pick Aretha Franklin songs like "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" or "Respect." But again I don't like to get too serious because it takes the fun out of it when you're singing really seriously in karaoke. It should be loose and fun.

Jennifer Hudson chats with InStyle's Jonathan Borge at her campaign launch for New York & Company's Soho Jeans Collection at Marquee on July 22, 2015 in New York City.
Credit: Naomi Driessnack for

Which three songs do you have on repeat right now?
My son got me into this "Cheerleader" song [by OMI]. I like that song. I like Jason Derulo's "Want to Want Me." I like that song a lot. Let me think. One more song. Obviously, I love Bruno Mars's song. Well, it's not original. That Bruno Mars song. You know that one that … [sings a tune].

“Uptown Funk!” I love that one. So who do you turn to for style inspiration?
Instagram, I love. I don't follow many people but I love to just go look and just click on from person to person to person and I like real people. That's why I love people watching and that's why I love New York. Nobody is the same. I love to see individuals express themselves and I love that. I love going on Instagram and looking and just people being. That inspires me to be me that much more and maybe take a few little points like, "I'm going to use that, I'm going to use that." Instagram, definitely.

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