Fans of the third season of American Idol were majorly peeved at the final results that placed a young and powerfully dynamic vocal contestant Jennifer Hudson in seventh place.
But according to AI judge and former pop singer Paula Abdul, it was a blessing in disguise that the then unsigned singer didn't ultimately win the reality talent competition.
Abdul stopped by The Jennifer Hudson Show for an interview following previous appearances by fellow original judges, record producer Randy Jackson and music executive Simon Cowell.
After reminiscing about their experiences on the show, the conversation eventually shifted to how America responded when Hudson was eliminated from the singing competition.
The concept of the popular talent competition involved fans determining each season's winner by casting votes via phone, internet, or SMS texting.
When Hudson was a contestant in 2004 as a 22-year-old, Fantasia Barrino–a 20-year-old mother from North Carolina–became the third American Idol.
In all deference to Barrino–who in her own right was just as extraordinary and worthy of the title–those hoping for a different outcome in favor of Hudson were not happy.
As Abdul put it:
"It was like the whole world was pissed."
You can watch the full interview here.
Paula Abdul on Why Jennifer Hudson Didn’t Need to Win ‘American Idol’youtu.be
J.Hud said fans were still upset to this day and Abdul agreed.
“People still talk to me about ‘God, that night that Jennifer Hudson was eliminated,'" said Abdul.
The former "Forever Your Girl" singer recalled the time she consoled Hudson following her elimination on Entertainment Tonight.
“I said to you: ‘You know, I have the feeling that some amazing things are going to happen to you."
"People that need to win, win, and the people that don’t need to win end up winning big time.’ And you did.”
The studio audience affirmed Abdul's prediction with cheers and applause for the show's host.
Online, people reflected on the time they were devastated by the AI season three's results.
Since moving on from American Idol, J.Hud achieved many successes, leading her to become a bonafide music and film star.
In November 2005, Hudson was cast as Effie White in the movie adaptation of the musical Dreamgirls, co-starring Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé Knowles, and Eddie Murphy.
Among many of the actresses up for the role was none other than Hudson's AI competitor, Fantasia Barrino.
J.Hud's debut screen performance in Dreamgirls earned her the esteemed Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, making her the youngest African-American to win in a competitive acting category.
In 2008, she released her self-titled debut album, which became certified Gold, and went on to win the Grammy Award for Best R&B Album.
Hudson received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013 and was named by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2020.
Her screen credits continued to grow, with her most recent appearance portraying music legend Aretha Franklin in the 2021 biographical musical drama, Respect.
Her performance was hailed by Deadline's Pete Hammond, who described Hudson as:
"a triumph merged with the spirit and guidance from an even greater voice above."
"Hudson's performance is an electrifying sight to behold."
After winning a Tony Award as a producer on the Broadway musical A Strange Loop in 2022, Hudson achieved EGOT status.
The acronym includes the entertainment industry's highest achievements, which include an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.
Becoming an EGOT made Hudson the youngest woman and second African-American woman behind Whoopi Goldberg with the prestigious honor.
J.Hud may not have been crowned the third American Idol, but Abdul was on to something when she "straight up" predicted Hudson would win big time.
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