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Nicole Scherzinger joins Annie Live as Grace: 'I'm over-the-moon excited'

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It's not such a hard-knock life for Nicole Scherzinger.

The Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, and TV star is set to tackle the role of Grace in NBC's upcoming Annie Live musical, EW can exclusively reveal. Grace serves as Daddy Warbucks' chief of staff and is instrumental in getting her boss to open his home and heart to the titular orphan.

"I'm over-the-moon excited. This is my wheelhouse!" Scherzinger tells EW between tapings for the upcoming sixth season of The Masked Singer.

Maxwell Poth/NBC

Though she grew up doing theater and musicals (and received an Olivier Award nomination for her role in the revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats in London's West End), this will be Scherzinger's first live TV musical, a fact that is not lost on her. "I have definitely got the heebie-jeebies, but I'm excited to learn," she says. "I'm ready for it."

In this latest version of the tale of Annie — which was first based on the 1924 Harold Gray comic strip Little Orphan Annie and later turned into a Broadway musical and numerous films — Harry Connick Jr. and Taraji P. Henson have been cast as Daddy Warbucks and Miss Hannigan. "It's such a beautiful cast so far," Scherzinger says. "I couldn't be in better company."

It's too soon to say much more on what to expect from her take on Grace, but Scherzinger teases that she'll get to do a lot of dancing and she's excited to "sink [her] teeth into the music component of it all." Ultimately, though, she's looking forward to tackling such a heart-warming story.

"With the predicament of children now more than ever needing homes and support and love, I'm really honored to be able to play Grace," she says. "Because even though Daddy Warbucks is the head, I'm the neck, and I'm the one who gives him the idea [to adopt Annie]."

Scherzinger continues, "It's such an empowering role and beautiful, graceful shoes to fill, every pun intended. I think now through COVID and everything that we've been going through these past two years, I think that the story, the simplicity of what really truly is important in life, really resonates."

Annie Live will be executive-produced by Robert Greenblatt, Neil Meron, and Alex Rudzinsky, with Lear deBessonet and Alex Rudzinski sharing directing duties. It will air Dec. 2 on NBC.

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