Jesus Christ Superstar: John Legend's 'Gethsemane' — Grade It!

Leave it to Jesus to bring the house down.

John Legend’s big moment in NBC’s broadcast of Jesus Christ Superstar Live came in the Act II number “Gethsemane (I Only Want to Say),” in which Jesus wrestles with the reality that his death is close at hand.

“I only want to say/if there is a way/take this cup away from me,” he sang as Jesus starts to doubt whether his cause is worth the suffering ahead. “For I don’t want to taste its poison/feel it burn me/ I have changed/ I’m not as sure as when we started.”

Though Legend had made a strong musical-theater showing prior in the telecast — holding his own against experienced Broadway performers like Power‘s Brandon Victor Dixon (who played Aaron Burr in Hamilton) and Sara Bareilles (who wrote the music and lyrics for, and starred in, Waitress) — “Gethsemane” pushed him to give himself completely over to the song, which demands both stratospheric notes and all-encompassing despair.

We think he nailed it. But now it’s up to you: Grade Legend’s performance of “Gethsemane (I Only Want to Say)” via the poll below, then hit the comments with your expanded thoughts.

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