Jennifer Hudson Escapes 'American Idol' And 'Dreamgirls' Cover Songs On Self-Titled Debut

'It introduces Jennifer the person versus all the characters,' singer/actress tells MTV News.

Jennifer Hudson has a new kind of spotlight on her now that she's finally released her self-titled debut album. While she's been known as an "American Idol" contestant, an Oscar-winning Dreamgirl and Carrie Bradshaw's assistant in the "Sex and the City" movie, now she's ready for her close-up as ... Jennifer Hudson.

"It introduces Jennifer the person versus all the characters," she told MTV News about her new LP. (Read about yet another side of Jennifer — the fiancee — in our Newsroom blog.) "It shows my versatility as a vocalist coming out of singing the cover tunes from 'Idol' or 'Dreamgirls.' "

But that was only one of the challenges Hudson faced when making the album. Working with everyone from Timbaland to Ne-Yo to Robin Thicke, Hudson wanted to prove that she can handle ballads and more upbeat fare, like her midtempo single "Spotlight."

"So many different people come up to me and say, 'I'm a huge fan,' and I say, 'Oh my God, what am I going to have for everyone [on the album]?' " Hudson said. "That was the biggest challenge, [but] nobody knows my potential the way I do."

Hudson hooked up with fellow "Idol" finalist Fantasia for a track called "I'm His Only Woman," in which the two ladies battle it out. But in real life, Hudson couldn't have been more excited to reconnect with her old friend.

"It was such an honor to have her. I had two people on my wish list: One was Whitney and the other was Fantasia," she said. "I went into the studio with Missy [Elliott] to hear the song for the first time, and she said, 'I know you want to do a duet with Whitney, but I'd want to hear Jennifer and Fantasia.' "

Hudson thanked Robin Thicke for working with her on her favorite track on the album, "Giving Myself," a song that she said shows her fans she can do anything she wants when it comes to her music.

"It's unexpected from me, but it still is me," she said. "I love how [Thicke] allowed me to be me but introduced another side. He introduced a more vulnerable side vocally, but yet he put it with the ballad side of Jennifer."