How John Legend Got Fit For His Jesus Christ Superstar Shirtless Scene

John Legend in Jesus Christ Superstar
(Image credit: Peter Kramer/NBC)

With everything star John Legend has on his plate, it would be understandable if staying in shape was not at the top of his to-do list. In between rehearsing for Sunday's premiere of Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert on NBC, the singer-songwriter-actor somehow managed to find the time to get fit for his starring role. It was a good goal to have because the stage musical was a live event that spanned over two hours, requiring Legend to sing and act. The singer's wife and legendary tweeter, Chrissy Teigen, shared how her husband had been getting into shape for the big event special:

John's eating really healthy right now for Jesus Christ Superstar. He has a shirtless scene he's pretty excited about, but he's actually starting to fast, like juice fast, starting today. . . . We're gonna get through that and then next week I'm just going to force feed him, basically.

Chrissy Teigen shared the fitness update with People last Tuesday, as John Legend had less than a week to go before the premiere of the special. Late last month, Teigen tweeted a picture of one of the meals she had cooked for her husband. Teigen, who has written a cookbook, captioned the dish as "blackened salmon." It is dishes like those that likely helped Legend get in and stay in shape for his physically demanding role in Jesus Christ Superstar, which involved the singer appearing shirtless for the story's darkest moments.

Being the supportive wife that she is, Teigen also live-tweeted during last night's premiere of Jesus Christ Superstar and she was not alone watching the live event. Official ratings for the broadcast revealed a three-year high in NBC's total viewers for the Sunday night time slot, with the exception of sports events, news broadcasts, or the Golden Globe awards. It was also the most-watched show in total viewers, beating ABC's broadcast of American Idol.

john legend jesus christ superstar shirtless

The good news did not stop there. Official ratings reveal the special also drew a strong reaction on social media, becoming the most talked-about non-awards special so far this year. While Jesus Christ Superstar did well in the ratings, it was unable to beat two of the network's previous live musical specials. Its ratings were around a few million viewers shy of NBC's 2013 broadcast of The Sound of Music Live and 2015's The Wiz Live. The Sound of Music was roughly three million viewers ahead of Jesus Christ Superstar, while The Wiz posted around two million more viewers than last night's Easter special.

Jesus Christ Superstar has received critical acclaim from multiple outlets and Twitter was similarly impressed. John Legend's Twitter feed is lit-up with people praising his performance as Jesus in the NBC special. Legend was accompanied by a cast that also included Sara Bareilles, Brandon Victor Dixon, Alex Cooper, and Norm Lewis.

NBC has confirmed that those who missed last night's live broadcast of Jesus Christ Superstar will be able to stream it on the NBC app sometime today. Be sure to head over to our midseason premiere guide and summer premiere schedule to see what other shows will be headed to NBC as the year progresses.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.