Jennifer Hudson made her foray into the talk show industry on Monday, with outspoken American Idol judge Simon Cowell as her first guest.
Cowell, who met Hudson when she entered the show’s third season in 2004, appeared on The Jennifer Hudson Show to expose details on the singer’s Idol eliminations and more.
It was the first time in 18 years that the two have 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.”
Afterwards, Cowell said he believed Barry Manilow’s “Weekend in New England” made their 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.”
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 Talent.
The Jennifer Hudson Show premiered on September 12.