Jennifer Hudson Looks Back on 'American Idol' Elimination: 'From Idol to EGOT Baby!'

Jennifer Hudson marked the 20th anniversary of her 'American Idol' elimination with an inspirational message.

Twenty years after her American Idol elimination, Jennifer Hudson is reflecting on how the low point would ultimately lead her to where she is today. The EGOT winner, 42, who was eliminated on Season 3 of American Idol in 2004, took to X (formerly Twitter) Sunday to relive the moment she was eliminated over fellow contestant Fantasia Barrino after they ended up with the least number of votes from the audience that week. 

In the clip, host Ryan Seacrest announced the shocking exit of the fan-favorite singer as Barrino, who would go on to win the entire season, hugged Hudson and told her, "You are my American idol." Alongside the emotional clip, the Jennifer Hudson Show host wrote, "On this day in 2004, I was eliminated from American Idol! But God turned it around for my good!" 

The singer and actress, who achieved EGOT status in 2022 after taking home the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony throughout her post-Idol career, continued, "From Idol to EGOT baby!!! 20 years later, and now back on TV with my own show." Hudson continued, "Never give up on your dreams, yal! (sic) If I can do it, so can u! If it's not worth working hard for, it's not worth it at all! Remember nobody knows your potential the way you do. Just keep the faith, keep believing, and keep going!!!"

Hudson has reflected on her Idol elimination before, even bringing former judge Simon Cowell on as a guest for the first episode of her talk show in 2022. Cowell, 62, admitted frankly during his appearance that it was Hudson's performance of Barry Manilow's "Weekend in New England" that he believed was the nail in her coffin on Idol. "That night, I will never forget," he said, remembering that all he could think at the time was, "Who chose stupid 'Barry Manilow Week?'" 

Cowell insisted the theme wasn't his idea, "And I remember thinking, 'This is not a great song.' Wasn't your fault. And then, of course, what happened, happened." Cowell went on to flip the script on Hudson, asking her if she would have changed the song looking back now on how everything had gone since then. After some thought, the artist said she stood by her song choice, as she most likely wouldn't have gotten her breakout role in Dreamgirls without that performance.

"By the time I was eliminated, I feel like I got an opportunity to display who I was as an artist, so I was OK with being eliminated," she continued. "And then once I was, I was like 'You know what? You're walking away with your talent, you're walking away with a gift.' This competition may be over but your passion isn't. Your love and your drive isn't. Too often people give up and think that's the end of the road and I said, 'No, I'll be back. I don't know how but I will sing my way to it.' And I kept that goal in mind and I didn't give up."