For our money, few “American Idol” eliminations were more shocking than Jennifer Hudson‘s. She was the sixth contestant sent home after delivering a not-even-remotely bad rendition of “Weekend in New England” during Barry Manilow week.
“We were all shocked,” says “Idol” judge Randy Jackson. “Vocally, talent-wise, I mean, she was one of the best in the whole season. Sometimes the public doesn’t get it right away, you know what I mean?”
Of course, Hudson got her professional revenge by going on to win a slew of awards — including a Golden Globe, SAG Award and Oscar — for her portrayal of Effie White in 2006’s remake of “Dreamgirls.” But still.
Hudson’s personal and professional lives will go under the microscope on Monday, June 28 for VH1’s “Behind the Music,” including her “Dreamgirls” experience and her time on “American Idol.”
“All of us felt as though we could win,” says fellow Season 3 contestant George Huff, “but I think every contestant knew in our hearts that with Jennifer we’re looking at a star.”
Not that Hudson knew herself at that time.
“It felt like being in a bubble. Because you go on the show, and you really don’t get to go outside of the ‘Idol’ world,” says Hudson. “To me that was the toughest part, but where I come from, as my grandmother would say, ‘Stand flat footed and sing.’ And just sing to the top of your lungs.
“I just knew, I was going somewhere, and I had to sing my way to it. And I couldn’t give up.”
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