Who was that singing with Jay-Z on 'Saturday Night Live'? Meet Bridget Kelly

Bridget-KellyImage Credit: Robb D. Cohen/Retna ltd; NBCJay-Z had some help on the “Empire State of Mind” portion of his Saturday Night Live medley this past weekend. Did you recognize the singer belting out the song’s chorus in place of Alicia Keys? That was Bridget Kelly, 23, a graduate of N.Y.C.’s arts-focused LaGuardia High School and an early signee to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation imprint.

Kelly has filled in on “Empire State of Mind” at numerous recent Jay-Z gigs, including last fall’s “Answer the Call” charity show and this spring’s Coachella festival. Hers is a crucial role: “Empire State of Mind” is a smash that concert attendees expect Jay to play, and it just wouldn’t work without a big, clear voice to sing that hook. Luckily, Kelly has been present and up to the task.

What did you think of Bridget Kelly’s big SNL moment? Are you looking forward to hearing her upcoming debut album?

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Katy Perry’s “California Gurls”: The first mega-smash of the summer?
Muse announced as first artists on upcoming ‘Twilight: Eclipse’ soundtrack; more to come

Comments (26 total) Add your comment
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  • Jennifer

    I thought she did a good job and was curious who she was, too. But still – How many articles is EW going to post about this ONE episode?

    • darclyte

      I thought that she did a good job and sounded at least as good, if not better, than the much over rated Alicia Keys. I also thought that “Mr. Hudson” did a pretty good job and sounded a bit like the lead singer of “Alphaville” who recorded the “Forever Young” song that was incorporated into Jay-Z’s “Young Forever” rap.

  • sparkle the gym bag


  • Brian

    What did I think of her performance?
    She was the only one on that stage who could actually sing.

    • southern boy

      Mr. Hudson can sing. Jay Z isnt a singer so what does it matter. Jay Z still had more top 10 hits than any other music artist from 2000-2009, bar none

  • Miss Talk

    I hope she goes big but that E.S.M anthem belongs to A-Keys, sorry ^^.

  • Ed

    She sounded great, but the best thing was that her skirt went up so high, and the camera was pointed right at the sweet spot…I was SO hoping for a wardrobe malfunction!

    • sparkle the gym bag

      yes i have rewatched that a couple of times…well 12 actually

  • Belle

    Ahh. I was 1/2 asleep when Jay-Z came on and I really thought that was Jennifer Hudson because she had lost weight and she wears that hairstyle. From what I can remember, she did sound good. BTW, since I fell asleep and totally forgot to DVR SNL, do you think it is on HULA?

  • Sche

    I was wondering who she was!! She did a great job and she looked good doing it! YOU GO GIRL.

  • bradley

    You should also talk about the greatness that is Mr. Hudson – the guy who sings on Young Forever

  • wizard62

    She was great…dare I say better than Keys? Her voiced seemed stronger than Keys recent American idol appearance where Alicia seemed to be straining to hit those notes. If handeled correctly, this girl has a big career ahead of her. She and Jay Z were astounding together!

  • trishka

    She was flawless. As much as I LOVE Alicia, she better watch her back. This woman done sang it!

  • trishka

    … and yes, the upskirting was a little troubling. That outfit should have been vetted better at dress rehearsal.

  • tim

    She was thinner and sexier than Alicia Keys. Otherwise, no big difference.

  • K

    I loved it!!!

  • HImike

    she was one of the hottest chicks ive seen in a long time! i just watched the dvr and realized it wasnt alicia keys but in no way was i let down. she looked and sounded super awesome!!! hope to see more from her soon. the biz can be vicious, but itll help to have j on your side!

  • fancypants

    I prefer Alicia’s voice on the song.

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