Jennifer Hudson and Simon Cowell Unravel American Idol Elimination

Photo: EW

Jennifer Hudson launched herself in the talk show industry on Monday, and her first guest was the straightforward American Idol judge Simon Cowell. 

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Cowell, who encountered Hudson when she joined the show’s third season in 2004, made an appearance on The Jennifer Hudson Show to unravel the performer’s Idol elimination and other things. 

The talk was the first time in 18 years that the two discussed the fateful night she was cut from the series. 

The crowd has seen that Cowell was harsh on Hudson during the course of the competition, infamously saying that the singer, who was in seventh place, was “out of [her] depth.” Recounting the memory, however, the judge had nothing but a compliment for her. 

“Why was the show so big in those days? It would be because of people like you. It’s a combination of talent, determination, and real personality,” he stated. 

“And even though we had that banter, you and I, it was always that. I always knew how determined you were. You were funny, and you took it with grace because you kind of got it. I always thought that about you.” 

Cowell then went on to say that he believes it was “Weekend in New England” by Barry Manilow that made her elimination possible. 

“That night I will never forget,” he stated. “Who chose stupid Barry Manilow week? It wasn’t me.” 

He continued, “It was not a great song. Of course, it wasn’t your fault and then, of course, what happened, happened.” 

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Hudson Would Sing it Again

Cowell then turned to Hudson and asked if she would want to change anything from that night. 

“And then I was thinking to myself a few days ago, ‘If you were going to go back in time, would you change the song, or would you have kept things as they were?’” he asked. 

While the query somewhat threw Hudson, she uncovered that she doesn’t regret singing the track even if she knew what would happen, because it was a catalyst for her to win an Oscar as Effie White in Dreamgirls

“No, but it’s other songs that I would have changed ‘cause that song led me to get Dreamgirls, honey,” she answered. “Barry Manilow structured that song as if it was “And I Am Telling You” and a lot of people thought that’s what I was singing.” 

Hudson then revealed how she felt despite being eliminated from the show: determination. 

“By the time I was eliminated, I felt I had gotten an opportunity to display who I was as an artist, so I was okay with being eliminated,” she further said.

“And then once I was, I was like, ‘You know what, you’re walking with your talent, you’re walking away with your gift. The competition may be over, but your passion isn’t, your love and your drive isn’t.” 

Hudson’s career has only shone brighter since her Idol days. This year, she became an EGOT member after bagging a Tony Award for producing Broadway’s A Strange Loop. But, perhaps, it is sitting proudly next to her Oscar, two Grammys, and a Daytime Emmy. 

Meanwhile, Cowell left American Idol in 2010 and has moved to other reality competition series such as The X-Factor and America’s Got TalentThe Jennifer Hudson Show premiered on September 12.

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