Jennifer Hudson, a 22-year-old cruise singer from Chicago, was "American Idol" judge Randy Jackson's choice from the wild-card round to join the final 12, and she made him proud with performances the judges felt got better each week. Hudson even earned the most votes one week, which made her elimination all the more surprising.
Q: Your departure is being compared to Tamyra Gray's as the most shocking in "American Idol" history. There have been all sorts of theories, from a power outage in Chicago to a racial divide. What do you think of some of these theories and do you have a theory of your own?
Jennifer Hudson: Who knows? Nobody knows what really happened, but I feel like whatever it is, it was meant to be. Right now, everybody's just trying to make sense of all this, so there's a lot of stuff thrown out there. But I don't think we'll ever know. ... I don't think it was based on talent, but if it was, I was robbed.
Q: Has anyone told you they couldn't get through because of a power outage?
Hudson: I have a lot of brothers and sisters and ... five of them had their phones completely go out. My mother's phone went out and she didn't want to tell me so I wouldn't worry about not getting any votes. She told me there was a tornado in Chicago on Tuesday, but it didn't occur me to that duh, the lines might be out, people can't vote. You know what, though, I feel like that storm was a sign from God that it was time to remove me. And when he got something to say, I ain't got nothing to say about it.
Q: Everyone seemed so in shock. What did the other contestants say to you?
Hudson: I was comforting everyone. They're crying and I'm like, "Why you crying? There's no need to cry." I feel like I did what I came to do. There's no need to be sad. I swear when they called my name I don't think anybody was breathing in the room.
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Hudson: He was like, "It should have been me." He always says that every week. But I don't think he should feel that way. He deserves to be there just as much as me or anybody else. We all feel he deserves to be there. He has fans just like we do and obviously they're voting. Instead of pointing fingers at him, [fans] should take heed to what his fans are doing and vote.
Q: The word "diva" sometimes carries a certain connotation with it. Do you think being referred to as "the three divas" with Fantasia and La Toya hurt your chances?
Hudson: Actually, I normally have a problem with the term "diva" but I think if anything, that gave us more attention. Long before "American Idol" people used to call me a diva. And I be like, "Hold on, are you calling me something else on the sly? You gonna call me a diva, call me a good diva." So somebody made up the name "The Good Diva." I'm a good person, I don't have a lot of demands, so call me the Good Diva.
Q: It was clear the three of you thought you were in the safe group. What went through your mind when you found out the opposite was true?
Hudson: It's funny now that I think about it, 'cause everybody thought we were safe and we did too. It was like, "What, are you serious?" That was a shocker, but finding out I was the one who was eliminated was not shocking at all. Not because I don't think I did a good job, because I know I did, but I never received any props or accolades from any of the judges and they always gave me a hard time, so it wasn't an easy ride for me at all. I wasn't pissed, it was just like, "Here we go with the games once again. Man, they don't stop." To be honest, I was very fed up with it, which is why I was relieved that I was eliminated. If I can't be appreciated where I'm at, then let me go.
Q: Who will you be rooting for?
Hudson: For me, my American Idol is George Huff. That's just my personal opinion. He is someone everyone should know.