15 American Idol losers who found their own stardom

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Jennifer Hudson (Season 3)

Jennifer Hudson is probably the true winner of any American Idol loser because she has something none of the rest of them have: an Academy Award!

Hudson auditioned for Idol’s third season in Atlanta, Georgia. She had just come off a gig performing on a Disney Cruise as one of the Muses from Hercules. She sang Aretha Franklin’s “Share Your Love With Me” and blew the roof off the place. The judges barely had anything to say, and immediately agreed she was going through to Hollywood. She flew threw to the live shows, and her performance of “Circle of Life” drew the highest number of votes that week. Two weeks later, she was shockingly eliminated during the Top 7.

Landing the role of Effie White in 2006 Dreamgirls was better than winning American Idol could’ve ever been. The singer’s performance was her big screen debut, and she starred alongside stars like Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé, and Eddie Murphy. Yet she still commanded our attention and earned praise across the board. She won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Following Dreamgirls, Hudson has appeared in films and on TV, including Sex and The City, Winnie Mandela, Sing, Smash (with Idol alum Katharine McPhee), Empire, and she is now a judge on The Voice.

She’s set to appear in the big screen adaption of the musical Cats, in which she plays Grizabella, set for release later this year. She has also released three studio albums, and has earned herself two Grammy Awards.